BT adds to pressure on Western Isles consumers

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BT have announced that it will increase prices for calls, line rental and broadband by up to 6% from the beginning of 2013.

Line rental for those paying by direct debit will increase by 85p a month to £15.45 while the cost of paying by cash or cheque will increase from £1.89 to £2, resulting in a bill of £17.45 a month for line rental from January.

BT scrapped its discount for paperless billing for new customers in 2010 and for existing customers last year, so the only way to save money on landline rental now is to pay the whole year’s cost in advance. BT’s upfront payment option, Line Rental Saver, costs £129 for the year.

The cost of BT’s most popular calls package, Unlimited Anytime Plan, will rise by 25p a month to £5.15. The package includes all calls to landlines and 0845/0870 numbers but does not include international calls or those to mobiles. Those who pay for their daytime local and national calls outside a call plan will see their cost rise from 7.95p a minute to 8.41p. The company’s call setup fee, which is charged per call, will rise from 13.1p a call to 13.87p.

Some broadband and BT Vision customers will also pay more. The cost of BT’s cheapest TV deal, Essential, will rise £1 a month to £5. BT’s broadband customers will see prices rise by up to £1.55 a month depending on what speed they pay for. BT will contact its customers to tell them of the changes from 1 September.

Commenting Western Isles Citizens Advice Service spokesperson Ewan Kennedy said;

“This price hike from BT will further add to the already palpable pressure upon household budgets in the Western Isles which have to contend with energy price rises like those announced by Scottish and Southern Energy last week”.

“This is the second price rises for BT services in the past year and although BT have said that after these price rises in January 2013 costs in calls etc would be frozen, there is nothing to stop them raising prices elsewhere, e.g broadband. BT customers in the Western Isles are being asked to pour more money into BT whilst some areas on the islands cannot get a broadband connection”.

“However, if anyone is concerned that this rise is too much for their household budget to take, there are ways how consumers can shop around for the best deal. Websites such as comparethemarket.com and the money saving expert website can help find the best deal to suit you.”