Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 December 2014

BT bills rise twice inflation rate

BT is hiking its phone and broadband prices from January 5
BT is hiking its phone and broadband prices from January 5

Around 10 million BT customers are being told that phone and broadband bills are to rise by up to 6%, in the latest blow to cash-strapped households.

BT is hiking its prices from January 5, with phone calls, line rental and broadband rising by up to 5.9% - more than twice the rate of inflation, at 2.6%.

The group, which recently agreed deals worth £890 million to secure rights to screen Premier League football and Premiership rugby matches, revealed that people signing up to the group's cheapest television package Vision Essentials will see the monthly tariff increase from £4 to £5, a 25% rise.

BT is notifying customers about the bill changes from this month, meaning families are facing yet more price rise misery this winter as a raft of firms and utilities hike bills, with fears of others following suit.

SSE was the first of the big six UK energy firms to announce an increase in tariffs this year when it braced customers last month for a 9% rise for gas and electricity from October 15. Homeowners have also been hit as high street banking giant Santander said it is increasing its standard variable rate mortgage by 0.5% next month.

BT's move is the latest in a line of price increases by telecoms and TV providers. Its rival, Sky, increased some tariffs on September 1, following call charge and broadband increases by Virgin Media in April and bill rises for many TalkTalk customers since May.

But BT said it would not raise prices on a range of services again before 2014, including its Unlimited Anytime call plan, standard line rental and calls to UK landlines.

The price rise announcements come just months after BT agreed to pay £738 million for the rights to 38 Premier League football matches a season for three years amid fears it vastly overpaid.

BT also announced that it would pay £152 million for exclusive live broadcast rights to Premiership rugby. But a BT spokesman denied that the TV sports rights deals are behind the customer bill rises.

"We make major investments in services for customers and technology all the time. It's business as usual. These rights are an investment for our BT's new sports channel," he said.

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