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Line rental costs explained

It’s a recurring complaint. I no longer use my landline, why am I having to stump up for line rentals?

Now that 93% of the population have mobile phones, the decline of the landline is well underway. In fact, 16% of UK homes no longer make any landline calls according to the industry watchdog Ofcom.

So why should we pay? Well, even if you don’t use your landline, it’s still the case that the old phone copper line provides connection to both the internet and the telephone network.

Even if you’ve switched to a new fibre optic broadband, the last leg of the journey into most homes is still down the copper wires.

So is it fair that you pay for a service you don’t use? The answer from BT is that, regardless of what you use the line for, it still needs to be maintained. That’s why the same charge applies whether a customer uses the line for calls, broadband or both.

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I see a broadband deal advertised as FREE, I won’t pay it will I?

You’ll almost certainly be paying for it.

If you use an ADSL or fibre-optic broadband service, you’ll almost certainly be paying line rental charges.

In an age old marketing ploy, providers have excluded it from their headline prices, often only mentioning it in small print. Lured by “free” broadband, customers would then find it was anything but.

However, from October 2016 broadband providers will have to include the price of line rental in their headline costs.

The move by the Advertising Standards Authority come after it published a joint survey with Ofcom in January. The survey showed just how much trouble consumers had working out the cost of broadband from the supplier’s adverts.

Only 23 % of those who did the survey could say what the cost of broadband was after watching once. After two viewings, 22%were still not able to identify the correct cost.

Over 80% of those who took part were unable to calculate correctly the total cost of a broadband contract when asked to do so. No wonder things needed to change!

At comparethemarket.com we’ve always been aware of this practice which is why as well as showing the monthly cost we also include an all-in 12 month total cost. This includes line rental, as well as other ‘extras’ such as activation fees and other equipment charges.

So how much is it?

Today’s line rentals per month range from £13.49 to £17.99. That’s £162to £216 a year.

This means deals headlined as “free” by the providers are really nothing of the sort.

Always compare the full prices. Doing so couldn’t be easier right here at comparethemarket.com.

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