Given that the European Commission has said that BT have to provide the same access for third-parties to their fibre network as they currently do for their copper network, I'm crossing my fingers that within 18 months providers other than BT will be offering fibre. Whether or not 18 months will be enough time for contract terms/prices to become more attractive? I'm not sure, particularly given that BT are being allowed to retain price control.
With that decision taken, I thought I'd have a go at lowering my monthly cost for line rental and broadband. MoneySavingExpert recommend Primus Telecom, but it I'm honest, their 90s website put me right off. Then I remembered that O2 do fixed line rental now, and my experience of their broadband has been positive enough for me to trust them with the line rental.
I phoned up and explained to the advisor that I'd like to add their basic home phone (line rental only) service for £7.50 a month and also asked if I could renew my broadband at the same time (we were 11 months in). I also told her that I had a loyalty discount on the broadband, and that my ideal case was to renew the broadband whilst retaining the discount and also add the line rental. At this point she popped me on hold as she needed to consult retentions to find out how to handle the loyalty discount.
When she came back, she said that if I was prepared to sign up for 12 months of line rental at £7.50 a month, she could give me 12 months of broadband free of charge. I really wasn't expecting this and after a a quick pinch make sure I wasn't dreaming, I agreed. The agent said she'd need to transfer me through to retentions to sort out the broadband first and then she would call be back to finalise the line rental. When I got through to retentions, they explained that I could indeed have 12 months of broadband for free, but that as they no longer offer the same terms as I was on, I'd have to change my package. She went on to tell me that she'd move me onto their highest package "The Works" (netting me a static IP), that my bill will say -£21 a month and that she'd post out a new wireless N router to me immediately.
With that call finished, I waited for the call back from the first agent, which duly arrived and I went through all the contractual terms and acceptance. Once that was completed and the verbal ink was dry, I mentioned to the agent how much better this call had gone than I was expecting. She told me that she didn't even know 12 months free broadband was possible and that I was now paying less than her staff rate for my service!
The switch-over of the line from BT to O2 happened today and I have to say it was seamless, I didn't even notice any downtime. We've had some intermittent issues when there has been heavy rain, but after a visit from the OpenReach engineer who discovered a fault and switched us onto the spare core between our house and the cabinet, it's been rock solid and in fact our speed has increased with a current sync or 9629kbps down and 1265kbps up. Not bad for a total cost of £7.50 a month.