Nearly a third of UK households could be overpaying for broadband based on their usage requirements, research suggests.
About 31% of broadband customers are paying for significantly more bandwidth than they require and could save around £93 ($120) a year by switching to a better value deal, according to analysis of household internet usage, including streaming, gaming, email, and web browsing.
The results demonstrate a long-standing “lack of effective, objective methods to assess specific broadband needs by household,” said internet expert Broadband Savvy, who carried out the research.
Nearly half (47%) of broadband customers don't even know how much bandwidth they need, a survey conducted by the firm found.
Over a quarter (26%) admitted they simply purchase deals with download and upload speeds similar to their previous package — even if their needs had changed.
Meanwhile, a fifth (19%) rely exclusively on broadband provider websites to determine how much speed they need, and 12% simply guess what their broadband requirements might be before picking a provider and plan.
“Part of the problem is that once you sign a contract, it’s very difficult to change if you get the wrong speed, especially if you want to switch to a cheaper package,” said Tom Paton, founder of Broadband Savvy.
“There’s nothing wrong with paying for more bandwidth if you want the luxury of faster internet. However, many households are overpaying not by choice, but because it’s so difficult to find out how much bandwidth you need before you put pen to paper.
“Consumers do not have an accessible, easy-to-use way of calculating how much internet speed they really need, given their internet usage.”
What's more, over a fifth (21%) of those who pay their household's internet bill each month don't even know what their broadband speed is, the survey found.
This demonstrates “a massive opportunity for households to review their deal and their internet usage and potentially save a significant amount of money,” Broadband Savvy said.
The study also found Brits are just as likely to pay for insufficient internet speeds based on their usage. Over a third (37%) of households require more speed based on their usage than the package they are currently paying for offered.
Over two thirds (68%) of slower-speed households said they are willing to pay more for faster broadband — indicating that affordability might not be a barrier to upgrading.
WATCH: Why tax rises may be inevitable in Britain