BT has decided to charge its 14 million customers almost £50 more a year for internet and phone bills in what is being dubbed a new ‘work from home tax’. The move is expected to pile even further pressure on households already squeezed by Britain’s growing cost of living crisis.
The telecoms giant has confirmed bills will jump by 9.3 percent following “dramatic increase” in data usage in recent years.
Nick Lane, managing director for consumer customer services at BT said: “Price rises are never popular, but are sometimes a necessary part of business, if we’re to keep up with the rising costs we face and ensure we can continue to deliver a brilliant network experience as customers usage of data grows month on month.
“We’ve thought long and hard about how we make sure that any pricing changes are predictable, clear, and not unfairly focussed on our existing customers, but reflected in our new prices too.”
The changes will begin in April for most BT customers – but some are insulated from the price hike.
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“The way we live and work has fundamentally changed and the business world has not fully caught up with it.
“The important thing to remember is that this is not just BT striking out by itself – this is going to happen with every broadband company.”
Julian Knight, the Tory chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, said price rises in the industry will further stoke inflation.
He said: “This extraordinary increase will be a body-blow to millions of British families who have to rely on BT for the provision of their phones and broadband.
“Honestly I can’t see that this is justified in any way.
“BT moving in this direction could mean that other suppliers in the utilities try to get away with similar increases, in which case we will be in a serious inflationary spiral.”
A spokesman for BT said: “We appreciate that price changes are never welcome but in order to continue to deliver the best products and services and build extra capacity into our network we must continue to invest to meet the growing demands.
“If any customer is worried, they should speak to us and we can find a solution which works for them.”