Don't Lock Me In!

Many consumers are "locked in" to a long-term contract with their broadband provider, in one of two ways:

  • A broadband contract typically runs for between 18 months and 2 years - and often rolls over automatically to be extended even longer! In some cases, a "free" device or "free" installation is used as a sweetner. But many consumers, if offered the choice, would rather bear those up-front costs in exchange for the freedom to switch providers on a month's notice.
  • Providers will often bundle several products together, sometimes for a "discount" rate. The consumer who is unhappy with one of the components of that bundle may find themselves stuck with it, because they do not wish to lose other bundled items. This too locks them in to a single provider, limiting choice and competition.

Consumers are best served by a competitive market for Internet services, and forcing consumers into long term contracts or to accept an inflexible bundle of products can distort that market, giving them a poorer deal. Consumer groups advocate for a maximum contract term of 12 months, and that the components of service bundles should be separable without significant financial penalty.

What can you do if you are affected?

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