Advertising watchdog to crack down on broadband pricing after finding customers were often left confused
The advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), is cracking down on broadband price claims.
The changes, which will come into force on 31 October 2016, force companies to include line rental in the final price shown to customers.
Earlier this year the ASA found many customers were confused by the way prices were presented, with only 23 per cent able to correctly identify the price after viewing the ad.
Read more: BT has hiked prices for thousands broadband customers
Broadband providers will also have to give greater prominence for the contract length and any post-discount pricing, as well as any up-front costs.
Guy Parker, ASA chief executive, said:
We recognise the importance of broadband services to people's lives at work and at home. The findings of our research, and other factors we took into account, showed the way prices have been presented in broadband ads is likely to confuse and mislead customers.
This new tougher approach has been developed to make sure consumers are not misled and get the information they need to make well-informed choices.
Yesterday broadband provider TalkTalk jumped the gun on the regulator and announced it would stop separating out line rental from broadband prices in the Autumn.
TalkTalk, the telecoms company that was last year the victim of a high profile data leak, said it is already pricing its fibre broadband service in York in what it calls "all-in pricing".
Read more: Firms like TalkTalk ignore the risk of cyber attacks at their peril
The fiercely competitive broadband market, which has seen TalkTalk, Sky, Vodafone, and BT regularly come to blows over regulatory and infrastructure decisions, has been accused of misleading customers with confusing pricing structures.