Broadband customers have been issued a two-week warning ahead of price rises set to hit households in April.

Consumer experts Which? warned readers that several broadband providers are pushing ahead with increases of more than 14%.

Broadband firms, including BT, EE, Plusnet, TalkTalk and Vodafone, increase their prices each April in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus an additional 3 to 3.9%.

Customers often have no choice but to accept the price rises or pay hefty exit fees as the increases normally come mid-contract.

Which? warn that this results in low-income families being trapped in their contracts.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Their research shows the average low-income customer would face a price hike of £52 per year, though customers could see annual increases as high as £77.

Rocio Concha, Which?’s Director of Policy and Advocacy, said: “With less than two weeks to go until April price increases take effect, it’s hugely concerning that some providers have not taken action to protect financially vulnerable consumers from these hard to justify above-inflation price hikes.

“Telecoms providers must urgently cancel the 2023 price hikes for financially vulnerable customers.

“They should work to proactively identify these customers and ensure they're not financially penalised, even if they don't take up a social tariff.”

Offering advice for customers struggling with the price rises, Which? said: “Certain customers are eligible for special discounted broadband.

“If your provider offers a social tariff it will usually allow you to move onto it even if you have time remaining on your contract, though you may have to prove your eligibility first.

“If you're not eligible for a social tariff - or your provider doesn't offer one - and you have concerns about paying a higher price, your provider will take other steps to help you with your bills.

“If your provider considers you financially vulnerable it may exempt you from the price rises, though this isn't always publicised.

“Providers that don't offer social tariffs may also allow you to switch away to another provider that does, though you'll need to show you're eligible.”

EE, responding for BT and Plusnet, told Which?: “Customers who are struggling financially and are eligible for Home Essentials [BT's social tariff] can move penalty free at any point in their contract, this also includes EE and Plusnet customers.

“We understand that price rises are never wanted nor welcomed but recognise them as a necessary thing to do given the rising costs our business faces. With the average price increase just above £1 per week, and over 3 million of our customers exempt from the rise – we’re also doing all we can to ensure our services are accessible to the widest group of customers possible through our market leading social tariffs.”

TalkTalk said: “This regulated CPI-linked price rise is preventable. There is still time for Ofcom to act and reduce the wholesale price increases that lead to these price rises. These are exceptional circumstances, and families and businesses across the UK need the regulator to act.”

While Vodafone told Which? it would automatically exempt customers from price rises if they have been identified as financially vulnerable.