Many households across the UK may be frustrated that they still have to pay line rental, despite not actually having a landline or rarely using it.
Many do not understand why they have to pay the costs and why few broadband providers offer a service without it being automatically counted.
In fact, This is Money revealed last week that households pay around £ 200 a year for line rental, despite nearly a third never using their landline.
However, with more and more households installing fiber optic broadband, which does not require a line rental connection, could this charge be in the water soon?
Many households are frustrated that they still have to pay rent because they don’t use a landline
Why do people still pay line rental?
The reason people still have to pay line rent is because most people still have a copper broadband connection to their home, the same line that is used to provide a landline.
While the two can be technically separated, in most cases it wouldn’t be worth the cost and could potentially lead to higher bills in some circumstances.
Virgin Media is one of the few companies that currently offers broadband without line rental as the company uses its own technology to provide the Internet.
Some of the confusion about how line rental is delivered came from a few years ago when there were numerous ads on television claiming that customers could use broadband for as little as £ 5 a month – or even free – but didn’t explain clearly that they would also pay high line rent, usually at around £ 20.
This confused and irritated many, leading the Advertising Standards Authority to change the rules for this type of advertising in 2016, saying that the main figure should now be the total price the customer paid for broadband.
However, there is still some confusion as a number of companies have decided to list their bills, which means that line rental and broadband charges are shown separately.
However, this probably reflects how much they will be charged by Openreach for the service.
One thing that also often causes confusion is the meaning of line rental, as it actually means the cost of maintaining the line itself, not the cost of having a landline phone.
This means that, according to regulator Ofcom, any disruptions on the network can usually be resolved without having to pay a one-time fee.
But will having full fiber broadband change this?
There has been an increase in the number of people using their landline during lockdown in the UK
How will having full fiber broadband change this?
Full fiber broadband is changing the way the Internet is delivered to your home.
Fiber to the property uses fiber optic cable to connect to households without using copper cable, meaning line rental is not essential.
This can provide much faster average speeds from one gigabit per second – 1,000 Mbps.
It’s a popular move with the government aiming for all of Britain to have access to it by 2025.
The advent of the full fiber optic network is likely to bring about the end of mandatory landline rental, as consumers who do not need a landline will choose to opt out.
With more people having fiber optic broadband in the future, there will likely be more options for internet deals without line rental as fewer people depend on it.
TalkTalk CEO Tristia Harrison previously told This is Money that she hoped the whole of Britain would have access to full fiber by the end of 2020.
She added that TalkTalk aims to offer the service for around £ 30 to £ 35 to keep it affordable.
The cost to install this and whether customers actually pay is a major concern for broadband providers.
It is also likely that even with the cost for the line rental segment removed, the cost for broadband will remain broadly the same with the TalkTalk example above.
It will cost millions to replace the copper wires with fiber optic cables and it would take years to complete the works.
Openreach, one of the largest broadband network providers in the UK, said it doesn’t really see landline, and therefore fiber broadband, and switch to mobile.
While people are making less use of landlines, they are not overwhelmingly leaving their landlines behind, as the vast majority of them require an internet connection, and in most places, fixed speeds and reliability are better than mobile.
It added that while it is undeniable that the use of fixed telephony has declined and will continue to do so, the disappearance of fixed lines is not happening now and is unlikely to occur in large quantities in the future.
Ofcom’s latest report from last December also shows that three million households and businesses (10 percent) had access to full-fiber broadband connections at the time, and we estimate that about 30 percent (so one million) did.
This suggests that the government’s 2025 target is unattainable, especially if there aren’t enough customers willing to include it.
Ernest Doku, tech expert at Uswitch, said: “While three-quarters of households still have a landline, for many of us it is only used as a gateway to the Internet rather than a product that we actively use.
Since traditional broadband services are delivered over the copper telephone lines, ISPs have not surprisingly charged a line rental, but with the advent of the full fiber optic network, mandatory landline rental is likely to come to an end, as consumers do not need a fixed line. , choose to unsubscribe.
Households that still want to have a telephone in their home, especially those for whom it is a lifeline, such as the vulnerable or elderly consumers, should not despair, broadband providers offer voice over internet protocol services, which consumers use to make calls via their internet connection. ‘
Voice over internet protocol services include WhatsApp, Zoom and FaceTime, all of which are growing in popularity.
However, it remains to be seen whether the increase in these types of services will replace the fixed line – and therefore the line rental – altogether.
The use of landlines is declining
According to watchdog Ofcom, fewer calls are made via the fixed line over the years
While landline usage has increased since the start of the lockdown as more families want to keep in touch, home phone usage has generally declined dramatically over the years.
According to Ofcom, 102.6 billion call minutes were made on landlines in 2012, compared to only 38.97 billion in 2019.
This is likely to be reduced even further in 2020, despite people using theirs more during the pandemic.
As more people own a cell phone, landlines become obsolete.
Compare the added Market, the number of home phones will decrease significantly in the future as the 5G rollout continues.
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