I heard BT Sport isn’t free anymore. What can I do?

BT Sport

Question

I just found out BT is raising its prices and going to start charging for BT Sport. I thought it was free for TV customers - what if I don’t want to pay?

James, via email

Our expert Duncan says...

Hi James.

Thanks for getting in touch. The bad news is that… yup, BT has indeed announced that its sports channels will stop being free for all but those on its top-end ultra-HD TV package. Cue the groans of disappointment from football and rugby fans around the country.

But before you all kick off, you should get the facts and understand what the changes mean for you. In this short guide, I'll talk you through exactly what the broadband big boy's up to with both BT Sport and broadband, and offer up some options for what you can do if you're worried about your bill.

BT Sport changes

Here's the top-level summary - from 1 August, customers on some TV packages will start paying for BT Sport. All other TV customers still get BT Sport included as standard. In addition, Sky customers who take BT Sport will also see the price go up.

Here are the key changes, coming into effect 1 August 2017 (just ahead of the new Premier League season):

  • If you're a BT TV Starter customer:  BT Sport will cost £3.50 a month
  • If you're a BT TV Entertainment customer: BT Sport will cost £3.50 a month
  • If you're a BT TV Max (formerly Total Entertainment) customer: unaffected  - BT Sport still included at no extra cost
  • If you're a Sky TV customer with BT broadband:  the price will increase £1.50 to £7.50 a month
  • If you're a Sky TV customer without BT broadband: the price will increase £1 to £22.99 a month

BT Broadband changes

BT will increase the price of some of its broadband packages in April 2017. Some packages and home phone call charges will cost more - here are the full details of what to expect:

From 2 April 2017:

  • If you have an ADSL package: broadband will increase by £2 a month 
  • If you have Anytime calls: this will increase by 49p a month
  • If you have weekend calls:  this will increase by 30p a month
  • Calls outside of inclusive calls allowance: these will go up by 1p a minute
  • Call setup fees:   these will increase by 2p

Line rental remains unchanged at £18.99 a month.

Compare broadband deals

My provider has raised prices - what can I do?

It's a fact that providers regularly raise prices - in the last 12 months, for example, Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk have all also announced that they're putting prices up. Yep, that sucks.

It's frustrating to be sure, and you're well within your rights to feel peeved. But you're not powerless - you have some options available to you if you want to avoid paying the extra charges.

  • Switch or leave without any exit fees: Price increases give you the opportunity to cancel your contract without paying an exit fee. When you provider wants to bump up the bills, they'll notify you in writing. If you switch providers or cancel your contractwithin 30 days of this notification being sent,you're free to leave. Them's the rules from the telecoms regulator Ofcom, so every big provider has to comply.
  • Check your contract length: Broadband providers will continue to provide a service and take your money after your contract is over. If you're out of your contract, then we recommend switching to a better deal - either from that company or a new provider entirely. There's no point in paying old prices when there's almost certainly a much better offer out there.

You can find out more about your broadband consumer rights in this guide (just click the link below):

Broadband consumer rights

Should I switch if my broadband provider raises prices?

Ah, now that's the question, isn't it?

In terms of BT Sport, the inconvenient truth is this: if you still want BT Sport, you'll have to pay for BT Sport. You can't get it for 'free' anymore from any provider, outside of BT's top end TV package - and that may end up costing you more in the long run.

There's always the pub of course, but if you're anything like me, that will cost you a fair bit in its own right - and that's before you factor in the booze-absorbing fry-up the next day.

Broadband and TV deals

Virgin Media
Sky
BT
Virgin Media
Sky
NOW Broadband
Full House TV Bundle Sky Entertainment + Broadband Unlimited Entertainment + Superfast Fibre + Weekend Calls + BT Mobile Player TV Bundle Sky Entertainment + Fibre Unlimited Fab Fibre + Entertainment Pass Attachment
£680.00 Total first year cost £485.95 Total first year cost £593.87 Total first year cost £368.00 Total first year cost £689.83 Total first year cost £369.87 Total first year cost
£55.00 p/m for 12 months £20.00 setup costs 12 month contract £38.00 p/m for 18 months £29.95 setup costs 18 month contract £46.99 p/m for 18 months £29.99 setup costs 18 month contract £29.00 p/m for 12 months £20.00 setup costs 12 month contract £54.99 p/m for 18 months £29.95 setup costs 18 month contract £29.99 p/m for 12 months £9.99 setup costs 12 month contract
Average speed 213 Mb Average speed 10 Mb Average speed 50 Mb Average speed 108 Mb Average speed 36 Mb Average speed 36 Mb
Weekend calls inc. Pay as you go Weekend calls inc. Weekend calls inc. Pay as you go Pay as you go
Channels 257 Channels 138 Channels 108 Channels 94 Channels 138 Channels 15
Now with VIVID 200 fibre speed Offer ends 31/07/18 Sky Q box Offer ends 21/06/18 £120 BT Reward Card - see BT's website for further details Offer ends 21/06/18 Now with VIVID 100 fibre speed Offer ends 31/07/18 Sky Q box Offer ends 21/06/18 Unlimited downloads Offer ends 31/07/18
Go
Call Virgin Media on 0808 168 6088
Go
Call Sky on 0800 759 1469
Mon to Sun 8am-10pm
Go
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm
Go
Call Virgin Media on 0808 168 6088
Go
Call Sky on 0800 759 1469
Mon to Sun 8am-10pm
Go

As for the broadband increases, that's slightly trickier to answer as a lot will depend on the individual. While it could potentially save you money, it's not risk free - as I mentioned earlier, price increases are a sad reality in broadband, so there's no guarantee that the provider you switch to will be that price forever.

That may change, of course. Some providers like TalkTalk have started to sell fixed price contracts, which promise that there won't be any price increases over the term, and Ofcom's also investigating the issue. But as things stand now, it's how things are.

Plus let's not skirt round the fact that some people simply can't be bothered with the hassle. And if you're happy with the service you're getting, that's fine too.

Ultimately, the best I can do is provide some general thoughts. These aren't to be taken as the gospel truth - there's no right or wrong choice here - but they may help with your decision-making process:

You should switch broadband if:

  • The price of your contract becomes more than you can afford
  • You're unhappy with the service you're getting
  • You see a better offer from a different provider

You should NOT switch broadband if:

  • You're happy with the service you're getting
  • You can still afford the new prices
  • You can't be bothered

Whatever you do, don't make any decision out of anger. Price increases can be maddening, but you have a few weeks from notification to decide what to do, so consider your options, compare alternative deals in your area and choose a course of action with a clear head.