Shopping around for the best broadband, television and phone deals is essential. Prices are on the move.
The cost of landline rental, still needed for most fixed line broadband services, has increased by 40 per cent in the past five years while Sky will increase line rental charges on Wednesday.
Emma Spencer, broadband expert at comparison website Money- Supermarket, says getting the most competitive deal can result in big household savings, especially since the combined cost of broadband, television and phone bills represents the biggest monthly outgoing after the mortgage and energy bills.
Switched on: Movie fan Clare Stevens swapped Sky for a Freesat box
Switches, she adds, are now less hassle. She says: ‘Under new rules providers must make switches seamless. There are also plenty of deals with no set-up costs.’
Big providers, including BT, Sky and Virgin, sell television, broadband and home phone deals as a package, known as bundles.
Ewan Taylor-Gibson, of comparison website uSwitch, likes Sky owned newcomer NOW TV’s Combo offer.
For an introductory £29.99 a month you get unlimited fibre broadband and 97 television channels.
Package deal: Big providers, including BT, Sky and Virgin, sell television, broadband and home phone deals as a package, known as bundles
The price includes landline rental but call costs are extra. For an additional charge you can bolt on a call package. There is a £44 set-up fee and after 12 months the monthly charge rises to £42.98.
Taylor-Gibson says Sky’s Fibre Unlimited & Box Sets bundle is another good option for households who want a broad selection of channels and unlimited broadband.
It costs £68 per month for an 18-month contract but it includes a ‘free’ 32-inch television, Samsung Galaxy tablet or £100 reward card.
Both the NOW TV and Sky deals have onerous penalties if you leave during the contract term.
TalkTalk has one of the cheapest broadband offerings at £20 per month with no set-up costs. Consumers must sign up for a minimum 24 months but the deal includes line rental.
TenTel’s Hello Broadband Unlimited is just £16 per month for the first six months and £22.99 for a further 12 months. There is no set- up cost and it includes line rental but not calls.
Broadband: TalkTalk has one of the cheapest broadband offerings at £20 per month with no set-up costs
Experts say Netflix and NOW TV are an option for those who want the latest television shows.
Netflix offers a 30-day free trial for new customers and then charges £5.99 per month.
NOW’s Entertainment Month Pass is £14.47 if you sign up for three months and £6.99 a month thereafter. Neither service ties you in to a contract so you can leave without penalty.
For consumers who do not want to be tied into lengthy contracts Freesat is an option.
There is a relatively high initial set-up cost – about £180 for a new Freesat box. Also you must have a satellite dish installed if you do not already have one, with costs starting from £80.
But then you have nothing more to pay, other than your annual TV licence.
Movie fan Clare Stevens is pleased she took action over the cost of her television watching as she has saved herself £360 a year.
Clare, who lives in Winterton, Lincolnshire, cancelled her monthly subscription to Sky and bought a Freesat box instead.
She had been a Sky television customer for more than ten years but had noticed costs creeping up, particularly as she liked to watch the latest films at an extra charge.
Researching the market she discovered she could buy a refurbished Freesat box online for £169 which could be plugged into her existing Sky satellite dish.
Clare can record live TV and has access to more than 200 channels with nothing more to pay. Clare says: ‘When I told Sky I was leaving it gave me three months for free, not once but twice.
‘So the money I saved paid for the Freesat box.’