Tune in to better value for telly and broadband
With so many packages available, there really is no need to be paying over the odds, writes Charlie Weston
A big chunk of many household budgets goes towards paying for broadband, TV and home phone services. With so many plan types and deals on the market offering so many different kinds of services and packages, there is really no need to be paying over the odds for this service.
If you haven't switched your broadband provider in a while, there is the opportunity to save by switching to a different provider. This is because it is likely any introductory offers you received when signing up have now expired.
Currently there are discounts of up to €500 available on selected triple-play (broadband, TV and home phone) broadband plans and up to €120 on some broadband-only plans, according to managing director of price comparison site switcher.ie, Eoin Clarke.
This can add up to significant savings over the length of a broadband contract, which is usually between 12 and 18 months long. Then, once you reach the end of your contract, you are free to switch again.
Before you switch it is worth contacting your current provider to tell them you are considering a switch, and letting them know why. You provider may try and lure you into staying by offering incentives and discounts if you stay with them. However, keep in mind that you will likely save even more by switching to a new provider, as most new customer discounts are larger than those offered to retained customers.
It is also important to note that if you want to switch provider you will need to give them 30 days notice of your intention to leave so that they can organise the settlement of your final bill and cancellation of services.
For some, switching broadband provider can seem like a hassle and sometimes a bit daunting if you haven't done it before. But you would be surprised just how easy and pain-free switching can be, Mr Clarke says.
Once you are ready to switch, it is easy to compare the different packages available to you by using an independent comparison and switching website like switcher.ie. A comparison website allows you to compare the plans across things like cost per month/year, broadband speed, providers and bundles.
Once you have found the right package for you and have submitted an application form for your new broadband product, you will hear from your new provider, who will confirm your application and may ask you for some additional details to help to set up your account with them.
You are then responsible for cancelling your broadband account with your current provider (providing relevant notice), so make sure you get in touch to advise that you are leaving and also make sure you arrange a date to close off your account.
Once the account is closed off, you can cancel your direct debits to this provider. This will also make it easier to agree an installation date with your new provider, to avoid any interruption in service during the change over.
Switching TV providers is quick and easy, Mr Clarke says.
But it is important to work out before you start shopping around what you need and want from your TV service. Do you want just a basic package for casual viewing or are you a movie buff who wants all of the cinema channels included? Perhaps you have kids who enjoy watching children's shows or maybe you live with a sports fanatic who would love a wide variety of sports channels?
It is important to consider not only the channels on offer but also the contract length, costs and whether it would be more cost-effective bundling your TV service with a broadband package, according to switcher.ie. Here are some of the best deals:
broadband, tv & phone
Sky's Sky Entertainment + Sky Fibre Unlimited and Talk Freetime package is available at €50 per month on a 12-month contract. The price increases to €92 a month thereafter. This amounts to a saving of €504 over the course of the contract. The offer is valid until March 7.
Virgin Media's Mix 240 bundle is available at €49 per month on a 12-month contract. The price increases to €89 a month thereafter. This amounts to a saving of €480 over the course of the contract. The offer valid until February 1.
Eir's Vision TV Essential and Broadband plus Off-Peak plus the Eir sport package is available at €54.98 per month on a 12-month contract. The price increases to €74.98 a month thereafter. This amounts to a saving of €240 over the course of the contract. The offer is ongoing.
Vodafone's Simply Broadband is available for €25 per month for the first six months, going up to €45 thereafter, on a 12-month contract. This amounts to a saving of €120 over the course of the contract. The offer is valid until February 28.
Virgin Media's Naked 240 broadband package is available at €35 per month for the first six months, going up to €54 thereafter, on a 12-month contract. This amounts to a saving of €114 over the course of the contract. The offer valid until February 1.
Sky's Sky Entertainment plan is available at €22 per month on a 12-month contract. The price increases to €37 a month thereafter. This amounts to a saving of €180 over the course of the contract. The offer valid until February 28.
Netflix basic package: one month free, then €7.99 per month thereafter.
NOW TV entertainment pass: two weeks free, then €15 per month thereafter.
STEP 1 Know what you are receiving with your service and how much it is costing you.
STEP 2 Write a list of what you want from your new broadband and TV service, such as channels, speeds, contract length. Run a comparison on a switching website such as switcher.ie to see what deals are available.
STEP 3 Contact your old provider and advise you are switching (giving notice as outlined in your contract) and organise a date of service termination. Your new provider will confirm your application, when you should discuss a start date. Savings will accumulate over the course of the contract.