The UK’s largest internet service providers (ISPs) have been hit with new competition and consumer pressure from online retailers and companies wanting to reach more people, including those on lower incomes, the BBC reports.
Many are now offering lower prices to help fund their expansion, according to a survey of 100 ISPs by the BBC.
Of the top ten ISPs, only BT and TalkTalk, both in the UK, have not reduced prices.
BT announced in April that it was to make the cheapest plan available to customers, with a discount of 15 per cent off.
TalkTalk said it would offer a 25 per cent discount on the cheapest plans.
It is the third time BT has slashed prices for customers, after cutting prices to 5 per cent last year and then 20 per cent in 2017.
The BBC says the cuts are the result of a concerted campaign by the ISPs.
In a report, the Institute of Directors said the UK ISPs were “seeking to make as much money from the existing customers as possible by offering the lowest prices, with minimal competition”.
The IOD found that the five largest ISPs in the country have a combined revenue of £8.8bn ($11bn) in 2017, up 11 per cent from the previous year.
This compares with £4.4bn for the six largest ISPs.
The top 10 ISPs in terms of revenue have grown by £7.5bn since 2013, according the IOD.
The IOG also found that ISPs are offering customers a lower price for the same service, with TalkTalk offering a 30 per cent lower price, BT offering a 20 per.cent lower price and Talk to the BBC a 12 per cent higher price.
The government also announced that the internet providers were to have to pay for the extra cost of the new internet filtering and security measures, as well as paying for extra security costs, to be added to customers’ bills.
These costs have been included in the price of the cheapest internet package offered to customers in England.
However, this price has been reduced by £4 a month since 2017, according a spokesperson for BT.
BT said: “We continue to provide the best prices in the market for customers in the region of £69.99 per month.
We have invested £4 billion to build out broadband infrastructure and deliver a high-speed broadband network.”
TalkTalk says: “Our broadband services offer the best possible access and value for money, while protecting our customers’ data, and protecting their privacy and security.”
It added: “As we have made progress on building out broadband services across the UK in the past year, we have also increased the amount of customers that are able to access our broadband services, and we expect this will continue to improve.”
It is understood that the ISPs have been using the savings from price cuts to fund the roll out of their new internet filters, which were designed to make sure that only the most sensitive internet traffic was sent over the network.
It was not immediately clear if the ISPs had also reduced the price for new security measures introduced after the recent attacks.
However TalkTalk told the BBC it had increased the security measures in response to the threats of a terrorist attack.
The internet filtering measures are designed to stop anyone who is not authorised by the internet service company from accessing the internet.
This includes the company’s own customers, but also businesses, government departments, and the NHS.
It said: The UK ISPs have increased the level of internet filtering, so that only those with a specific email address, a password or a valid security code can access the internet, and are not using other measures.
“We also have increased security measures around the internet and we will continue with these measures until we reach a safe and secure network for our customers,” the spokesperson said.
It added that it did not know if customers who are not internet service customers will be affected.
The company also told the IOG that it would continue to offer a 20-per-cent discount on its new broadband plan, which it described as “premium”, and “value for money”.
The spokesperson said the discount was not due to the rise in the prices of its internet plans, but to its investment in upgrading its network.
“While we have seen a number of large ISPs announce that they would no longer offer the most expensive broadband plans, we will always be looking for ways to ensure that our customers can continue to access the best broadband service in the industry.””
While we have seen a number of large ISPs announce that they would no longer offer the most expensive broadband plans, we will always be looking for ways to ensure that our customers can continue to access the best broadband service in the industry.”