Minister: ‘Outdated’ landline charges should be scrappedevosoftuk
Householders signing up for broadband packages could be exempted from the rental charge on their landline if they don’t use it, under proposals to be discussed by the culture minister.
Ed Vaizey has said the charges of around £18 a month are “outdated”.
He wants householders to only pay for the services they use, describing the current system as an “analogue billing system in a digital world”.
The minister is inviting BT, TalkTalk, Virgin and Sky for discussions.
One in five home owners do not make fixed-line calls, but have to pay for landline connections.
Mr Vaizey said: “If the companies come up with a different pricing structure, that is fine, as long as consumers can see what they are paying for.”
The minister said ending hidden costs, such as line rental, could mean other products becoming more expensive, but he wanted transparency around pricing.
The advertising watchdog, ASA, and the communications regulator, Ofcom, are to introduce new rules about how such packages are marketed from May, following research that found there was widespread confusion about prices.
A spokesmen for BT said: “Anyone using broadband uses a landline. I think the focus is more about ensuring clarity around charges when companies advertise their broadband packages.
“BT is happy to meet with the minister and other players in the industry to discuss ways of making charges clearer for consumers.”