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What are your thoughts on the current broadband price wars?

The Broadband Marketplace:

As the Lincolnshire Broadband Programme approaches a significant milestone where we have successfully enabled 50% of the target figure, it is worth reflecting on the considerable activity within the broadband market.

The Internet Service Providers are embroiled in a major price war at this time, with the increasingly competitive environment seeing prices sliding down lower and lower. All good news for the consumer I hear you say, but why are we now seeing such cut-throat competition in this area?

The answer may well be that the major players such as BT, Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk are all striving to push a bundled-up suite of services to their existing and potential new customers. Faster broadband connections are an essential tool in achieving this objective. The movement by BT into the TV Sport arena was always a precursor to an aggressive attempt to wrestle customers away from Sky. With revenue from telephone voice calls diminishing to 'Give Away' status, there has long been a need to seek out further revenue streams.

Added to this, their recent acquisition of Everything Everywhere (EE) is yet another advance in the battle to bundle customer's needs into one package from a single supplier. Recently we saw the battle for 'Triple Play' where operators were looking to entice customers with bundles that included voice, data and TV. Now we move towards 'Quad Play' where operators are seeking to add mobile phone services to the available package.

Enter Virgin Media with recent statements that they intend to extend their infrastructure to cover a further 4 million homes and businesses, supported by a second statement that they are working with Arqiva to extend 4G coverage in major cities and we see the heat being turned up by them in an increasingly hot battle to capture more customers.

Then we add in to the mix recent announcements by both Sky and TalkTalk that they intend to offer 'Free' broadband packages and we head towards a boiling point.

It still looks and sounds like great news for the consumer, but are there potential dark clouds on the horizon. The recent announcements by Sky and TalkTalk regarding 'Free' broadband offers, has been heavily criticised by Virgin Media who feel that such aggressive marketing is likely to damage the case for future investment in upgrades. Is it possible that the ensuing battle results in all sides being forced to drive prices down to such a level that their ability to provide a high quality, customer centric product is put at risk? Do we also see a position where future investment in emerging technologies and services are limited by the amount of cash these operators have available to invest and worst of all, do we see reduced competition as smaller providers are forced out of the game?

Interesting times ahead, but it's still looking good at the moment for the consumer who is seeking a really competitive deal.

We would welcome your comments and observations on all or part of the above article via the onlincolnshire forum at

It is fine and well if there is an assumption that customers want 'Triple or Quad play', personally I don't.

BT tell me I can have 'free' BT Sport as I have their broadband package, I don't like football so why would I want BT Sport?

EON tell me that I can save money if I buy gas from them as well as electricity; we don't have gas in our village. We also don't have 4G and 3G is hit and miss, we also don't have cable, so why would anyone want to take up these packages if they lived in the sticks?

So Cllr Davies, it is NOT interesting times if you live in rural Lincolnshire. We will be ignored by the big companies again because they are only interested where they can make easy money (major towns and cities) and the rural 20% in the county/country are disenfranchised again.
I am getting fed up of all the advertising telling me I can have an even better,faster bundle, when I fear I will not even get FTTC in the forseable future. EE would have given me a bundle, including TV, but only BT are allowed to provide this through my local exchange until fibre is enabled. That means that there is effectively no competition available where I live.

The latest Virgin news only rubs more salt into the wound. Yes there will be lots of competition/discounts in the more urban areas, but at the expense of the rural areas.

If only the County Council, and the Government, would ensure 100% coverage of a minimum of 8Mb/s instead of promising many times that for the fortunate "majority"!
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