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TalkTalk overhauls broadband packages to challenge rivals

Internet service provider TalkTalk throws down the gauntlet to its rivals by making a number of changes to its packages that it claims will put customers' interests first

Internet service provider (ISP) TalkTalk has announced a major overhaul of its broadband packages, issuing a challenge to rivals such as BT and Sky, and bringing itself in line with upcoming changes to advertising rules.

Billing the changes as an “unambiguous return to its challenger roots”, TalkTalk said it would offer a guaranteed fixed price with no increases for 18 months, and give loyal customers – meaning those who have taken a TalkTalk package for three months or more – access to the same special deals as new customers.

TalkTalk also confirmed that it would scrap separate line rental charges on all packages and move to a single combined monthly price, claiming that it had long been an advocate of all-inclusive pricing.

However, this change merely makes it compliant with oncoming changes to how broadband deals are advertised in the media, which were first announced by the Advertising Standards Authority in May 2016, and which come into effect on 31 October 2016.

Other ISPs, including Vodafone, have also attempted to portray their compliance with the new advertising code as a move being undertaken voluntarily.

TalkTalk consumer managing director Tristia Harrison said doing right by customers was the right thing for the business, and pledged an end to “silly gimmicks and shouty ads”.

“We’ve listened hard to what they’ve told us and we’re acting on it. People are fed up of confusing packages and loud advertising, they’re frustrated with deals which shoot up mid-contract, and they hate seeing the best deals saved for new customers,” she said.

“TalkTalk entered the market as a challenger, and we’ve always saved customers money. But today’s changes are about more than that. We know this is an essential service that really matters to people, so it needs to be simple, affordable, reliable and fair.”

Fix Britain’s Internet

TalkTalk’s announcement came a day before the initial phase of the Fix Britain’s Internet campaign comes to an end, with the closure of an Ofcom consultation on the future regulation of the broadband sector, that will decide the fate of the BT – Openreach relationship.

Alongside Sky, Three and Vodafone, TalkTalk has been urging both consumer and business customers to make their voices heard in the consultation process. The campaign now claims to have more than 75,000 supporters.

On 27 Septemer 2016, the campaigners published research – undertaken by ComRes – that said half of Britons rated prioritising improvements to the UK’s broadband infrastructure was more important than Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, a new runway for Heathrow or Gatwick, or the HS2 north-south rail link. BT has accused the campaigners of misrepresenting key facts in their arguments.

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