Broadband: We're paying less but getting more!

18 August 2008 / by Rachel Mason
People in the UK are spending more time online than ever before, and the price of broadband is getting cheaper, according to communications watchdog, Ofcom.

Ofcom's annual report into the communications industry – which includes TV, radio, the internet, mobiles and landlines - found that it is use of the internet and mobile phones that has risen the most.

According to the report, between 2002 and 2007 the amount of time spent talking on mobile phones has doubled, from an average of five minutes a day five years ago to 10 minutes in 2007.

And use of the internet has also seen a massive increase; in 2002, the average Brit spent six minutes online each day, but by 2007, this had risen to 24 minutes.

But despite these dramatic hikes in the amount of time spent using communications tools, the price of using them has actually gone down.

Ofcom's study revealed that the average household spend on communication services last year was £93.63, which is down from £95.16 in 2006, and down from £97.94 in 2004.

The drop in price of communications is particularly significant, says Ofcom, when compared to the price of other goods and services over the same time period, for example, food prices have risen by nearly seven per cent.

Ofcom says that one of the main reasons why communications has seen such an increase in usage but a drop in price are the emergence of 'bundles' whereby consumers can get a discount when they buy a TV package, home phone line and broadband together.

Another reason is the competition within the industry and consumers' savvy shopping techniques; prices from broadband have been forced down as consumers learn they can search the market and switch providers to get the best deals.

"We are spending more and more time with our communications devices but spending less on them," said Peter Phillips, Partner, Strategy and Market Development at Ofcom.

"Our devotion to watching, listening and staying in touch wherever and whenever we want shows no sign of diminishing and, with healthy competition, overall prices offer increasing value for money. That is what consumers demand and what Ofcom helps deliver."

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