Why is buying broadband more complicated than it needs to be?
I have to get a new provider and it is just ridiculous how much time and effort is needed to understand and analyse all the offers and their ludicrous terms and conditions that allow unlimited broadband to actually have a limit?!
Here in the UK, there are quite a number of broadband providers who bedazzle us consumers with a variety of offers that utilise every possible combination of variables available:
- Discounted or free monthly rental for first few months, but then a high monthly rate
- Minimum length contracts (12mths or 18mths usually)
- Monthly download limits (from 2Gb to ‘Unlimited’)
- Discounts if you are a mobile phone user from the network providing the broadband
- Download speed
- Discounts if you also buy another service from them such as line rental, landline talk packages and even TV packages
It is so complicated I have had to produce a spreadsheet to compare them all and even then it is difficult to really comprehend which one is best.
The most annoying part of it is the way deals are presented and the words used to describe the packages offered, most notably ‘Unlimited’ when used in regards to monthly downloading allowed. All the unlimited download offers are subject to each provider’s ‘Fair Usage Policy’ which state quite reasonable things like that you must not use it for unlawful purposes, spamming people, etc.
The problem is each provider has a different Fair Usage Policy which is especially relevant when it comes to their unlimited download provision. Taking the example of O2 who offer several unlimited download broadband packages but in their Fair Usage Policy there is actually downloading limits!
How can you fairly advertise unlimited broadband downloads but have a clear limit of what you can do? In fact, they have 2 limits in their unlimited broadband.
Paragraph 4.4 of O2’s Fair Usage Policy actually states ‘If you have signed up for our All Rounder or The Works packages then you can download as much as you like up to a fair usage limit of around 100GB for the All Rounder or around 250GB for The Works.’
Other companies are more vague and don’t explicitly state a download figure, but say if they feel your downloading activities are so excessive they will send you a written warning and if not changed they may terminate your broadband.
This all seems like over complicated sales trickery and completely misleading to describe something as ‘unlimited’ when it clearly has a limit.
It doesn’t need to be this difficult and headache-inducing just to pick a broadband provider.