UK broadband customers to face 8% price hikes

3 min Read Published: 19 Mar 2024

UK broadband customers face price hikes of 8% as inflation risesMillions of broadband customers will be hit by fresh price rises this spring. Despite growing pressure on both the government and Ofcom to ban the practice, in-contract price rises of around 8% will hit households across the UK. This follows record increases of over 14% last year.

The key reason behind the huge hike is that many major internet providers include inflation-linked annual price rises in customer contracts. Most use the CPI (consumer price index) figure from the previous December, plus an additional percentage. The CPI figure for December 2023 came in at 4%, meaning many broadband bills are set to rise by almost 8%.

To make matters worse, most customers will be unable to leave their broadband contracts and switch to a cheaper provider without paying a fee. This is because inflation-linked price increases are often written into broadband contracts.

How much will my broadband go up by in 2024?

Providers including BT, Plusnet, EE, VodafonePlusnet and Three increase prices annually by the December CPI rate of inflation plus 3.9%. Talktalk increases prices by CPI plus 3.7% and Shell by CPI plus 3%. Virgin Media uses the typically higher RPI (retail price index) for January (announced in February 2024 as 4.9%), plus 3.9%.

A few providers do not include price increases in customer contracts. This includes Sky Broadband and NOW Broadband. In 2023 Sky raised prices across its range of products by 8.1%, well below major rivals BT at 14.4% and Virgin Media at 13.8%. NOW introduced a flat-rate increase of £3.50 per month, which worked out as a more than 15% hike for some customers. In 2024, Sky Broadband prices will rise by 6.7%, slightly below its major competitors.

Some smaller providers have ruled out in-contract price rises altogether. These include Hyperoptic, Trooli, Zen Internet, Utility Warehouse, Voneus, Connect Fibre, Hull Fibre, Link Broadband, Octaplus, Open Fibre, Squirrel Internet, Infinics and Yayzi.

You can see the details of the major providers' 2024 price changes in this table:

Broadband price increase 2024

Broadband provider 2024 price increase 2023 price increase Cancel for free?
Virgin Media 8.8% (January RPI rate + 3.9%) 13.8% No
BT 7.9% (CPI rate + 3.9%) 14.4% No
Plusnet 7.9% (CPI rate + 3.9%) 14.4% No
EE 7.9% (CPI rate + 3.9%) 14.4% No
Vodafone 7.9% (CPI rate + 3.9%) 14.4% No
Three 7.9% (CPI rate + 3.9%) 14.4% No
KCOM 7.9% (CPI rate + 3.9%) £2 per month Check with your provider
TalkTalk 7.7 % (CPI rate + 3.7%) 14.2% No
Shell Energy Broadband 7% (CPI rate + 3%) 13.5% Check with your provider
Community Fibre 6.9% (CPI rate + 2.9%) 13.4% No
Sky 6.7% 8.1% Yes
Onestream TBA 14.4% No
Gigaclear TBA (July 2024 CPI rate + 3.5%, to come into effect October 2024) 14% No
NOW Broadband TBA £3.50 per month Yes
Cuckoo TBA 0% Yes

Can broadband prices go up mid-contract?

Unfortunately, yes. While most consumers would expect the initial price they agree to last for the full length of the contract period, broadband costs in the UK can go up. Many major broadband providers increase monthly bills during the minimum contract term, known as a mid-contract price rise. There are no rules or regulations to prevent this, but there is growing pressure for change.

The good news is that providers are supposed to include details of planned rises in your contract. If they do not, you can leave for free when your bill goes up. Your provider must tell you 30 days before the increase and, if it is not part of your contract, you can leave if you notify them within those 30 days.

The loophole used by most providers is to include a ‘inflation+’ clause in your contract. This ensures that your bill will go up by at least the rate of inflation and prevents you from leaving when it does, as you will be considered to have agreed to the hike, even though you had no idea how much it would be.

You can still cancel, but you might be hit with a pretty heavy early-termination fee unless you are out of contract.

When are broadband prices going up?

Most customers will see their bills change in March or April of 2024. Keep in mind that your broadband price can also go up when your contract ends. This can involve a very sharp rise as the original price you agreed is usually heavily discounted from the standard price and only lasts for a fixed term, usually 12, 18 or 24 months.

How to cancel my broadband

You may be able to cancel your broadband for free even if you are under contract. Here are our in-depth guides on how to cancel with each of the UK’s major broadband providers:

Should I cancel my broadband?

If you are unsure whether to cancel your broadband after a price hike or to stick with your current provider, your best option is to do some research. We have written full, independent reviews for each of the UK's biggest broadband providers so you can get a better understanding of what each can offer: