It comes after research conducted by the ASA, in collaboration with communications watchdog Ofcom, found that 81 percent of people sampled were unable to correctly calculate the total cost of their broadband contract when asked. Almost two thirds admitted being confused by one-off and on-going costs after an introductory period had expired, which wasn't helped by a lack of guidance relating to line rental costs. In all, as many 4.3 million Britons are thought to be in the dark over the real cost of their broadband service.
From May 30th, the ASA will ask ISPs -- including BT, Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk -- to bundle up-front and monthly costs into one monthly price and ensure that line rental fees are included. They'll also be encouraged to clearly state the length of each and every contract, along with costs after a discounted period has expired. Providers are not obliged to follow the ASA's suggestions, but not doing so could mean they break the UK advertising code.
With BT using its broadband service to offer free football coverage, and TalkTalk and Virgin Media offering reduced fees in order to lock customers into their quad-play packages, the UK market has become super competitive. That's slowly given rise to shady pricing practices that the ASA and Ofcom are now doing their best to shut down.