Broadband: are we paying too much?

  blanco 18:22 09 Jul 04
Locked

And, if we are, what can we do about it?

Hardly a day goes by when someone on these forums doesn't ask advice about which Broadband supplier they should be considering. I have been with Pipex for well over two years and am perfectly satisfied with their product and their service. Like pretty well every one else, however, the real provider is BT Wholesale and their price controls what the ISP can charge and it is natural that cable providers also judge their prices accordingly. Real competition can take place only when Local Loop Unbundling takes place.

This was brought home to me again this week when in the IT section of The Guardian there was a letter from a Brit living in France where (at least in his area) it has already taken place.
He tells us that he has a 5Mbps connection from 'Free' which includes about 100 television channels and free telephone calls for €30 a month. He goes on to say that if he were on a budget he could get a 1024kbps from 'Alice' for €11 a month.

So how can we put pressure on our regulators to get Local Loop Unbundling genuinely underway? Write to our MP, to PC magazines encouraging more and more publicity, to newspapers? We've seen that people power can make a difference when pensioners started taking action against increased Council Tax. So, any ideas?

  Dorsai 18:37 09 Jul 04

i guess it' like everyting else, we get charged what the seller thinks is the highest price the market will bear.

Charge too little and you don't make enough ££prifit££, charge too much and no one will buy. Get it right and everyone will grumble it's too expensve, but buy it anyway. (just like petrol)

  MichelleC 16:28 10 Jul 04

B/B is still good for it's money, but one of the ways to get the prices down would be to put pressure on BT. They were forced to drop their prices to the public a few years ago but not for what they charge to isp's. So they still have a monopoly on b/b prices to the isp's. The isp's have hit a brick wall every time they try to do something about it. And that's not the only way BT can control things. My b/b isp recently had cabling delayed as a result of bt's improper handling.
One way isp's can reduce prices is to charge only for upload/download which is why I pay an average of £14 pm.

  Daz35 00:54 12 Jul 04

Prices will come down eventually.

You've only got to compare something like mobile phones.

My first 'heavier than a brick' mobile cost me in the region of £500 and I had to pay a ridiculous amount for a call - this was back in 1989.

If you look how much people are now paying in comparison, it's relatively small and I think as more and more people get broadband, more suppliers will spring up forcing prices down.

It's only been about for a relatively short space of time, so give it time.

Personally, I use NTL 600K and think I get value for money, as I use it a great deal.

  Mango Grummit 00:58 12 Jul 04

Personally I think broadband must qualify for "The Bargain Of The Century."

  georgemac 07:29 12 Jul 04

BT will initially have to recoup the cost of upgrading all the exchanges, so the cost will probably reduce very slowly if at all.

In answer to the question, do we pay too much, when compared to others countries we probably do, but we should only compare ourselves with other European countries where wages are similar. France is a good comparison, a lot of far eastern countries probably not.

Local loop unbundling will probably help reduce prices, I hope so, but I think times ahead may get tougher for BT. I have not tried and do not have much interest in VOIP (telephone calls over broadband) because both parties have to be on bb, and sat at the computer. If someone invents a usb cordless phone that plugs into the computer so you can dial like a normal phone, then that and a mobile phone (which most people now have) will probably be sufficient for most homes, and mean vastly reduced line rental for BT.

Another thing that may force prices down is competetion from the Electricity suppliers, if bb over the mains cable problems are ironed out. There was a thread about this in the helproom, and a US Utility is pushing ahead with this and this is supposed to be the next step change in the US in broadband provision.

  georgemac 07:37 12 Jul 04

click here local loop unbundling

adsl on electric mains cables pcadvisor thread click here

  blanco 17:48 14 Jul 04

for the links particularly the the BBC report on local loop unbundling.
I've been a bit slow in replying because I have just had broadband problems with download speeds dropping since the end of last week and then finally coming to virtual zero this morning.
And the problem was finally traced to the local BT exchange over which my supplier has no control. Fortunately, after several days they have at last sorted it out and I am back up to speed.
I think my main point it that it was always intended that others would be allowed into exchanges so that I rent the line from someone other than BT if I so wish. Only then does BT's virtual monopoly diminish and there can be true competition. Elsewhere, that has driven down prices and added to the range of customer offers.
Compared to my previous 'anytime' dial up my current broadband and an effective second telephone line is good value. All I now want to see is an end to monopoly and some real choice.

  ayrmail 22:40 14 Jul 04

Five live this morning where talking to cable and wireless boss who claims that we are way behind most of Europe in terms of connection speed and cost. Blames this on BT stifling the competition, although they would say that BT retail is no different from other suppliers in that they have to buy from BT wholesale and I supose you could say that C & W would like to supply in the UK.
The deal in France dose sound good.

  JYPX 23:34 14 Jul 04

I think Daz35 is right. Prices will come down gradually, or, as NTL have just announced, more speed for the same money. So if you are on 600k you will be going to 750 for the same price. 1 meg users will be upgraded to 1.5 meg. I like that.

  Chegs ® 09:39 15 Jul 04

When BT's monopoly ends,prices will fall.When are ISP's going to be allowed to sell their services to NON BT customers,as presently they have to have a BT phoneline to get ADSL.

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