Opinion | The best time to save online

If you think prices at the pump and in the supermarket are skyrocketing, take a look at your internet bill in the coming months. Suppliers are also struggling with screeching inflation. Three guesses who will pay for it. Vendor season is open again. Ziggo kicked off last week: the cable provider announced a speed increase starting July 1. That’s a sweetener to make the annual price increase taste less bitter. Along with KPN, Ziggo is the market leader in broadband Internet. Each has about three million Internet customers.

Last year, Ziggo based three-quarters of the price increase on adjusting for inflation. KPN will also adjust prices starting July 1, but probably won’t include full inflation in the new rates, so customers will run screaming. After all, you can cancel in the event of a summer rate change. Smaller broadband providers T-Mobile and Delta opt for a year-end inflation correction.

It pays to change providers regularly, as does checking your health insurance every year. To switch, there must be something to choose from in your meter cabinet. Almost all of the Netherlands has cable, more than half of the homes have access to fiber optics. A lot of fiber is being installed, but it is relatively scarce in the big cities.

The cable provides a download speed of one gigabit, enough for most homes. But the subscription is expensive due to the TV package; competition is often absent or much slower.

Large consumers opt for fiber optics, which allows uploading as fast as downloading. Unfortunately, good competition is not possible in all fiber optic networks. Certainly not on the networks where KPN makes the decisions and determines the rental rates for other providers.

To avoid the regulations, KPN ‘spontaneously’ promised lower rental rates for its fiber optic network last month. According to competitor T-Mobile, which leases from KPN, it’s still too expensive.

With the KPN proposal, the Netherlands Consumer and Market Authority believes that Dutch households can save around €200 million in 2026 on their fixed internet connection. That saves 8 million households 25 euros a year.

That could be better. If I now change provider, I go from almost 110 euros (90 euros for the ‘fixed’, about 20 euros for the mobile subscription) to 70 euros per month. That saves 480 euros a year.

Because broadband and mobile are cheaper in a single package, you usually switch both plans. Transferring your mobile number is quite simple. Sim on it, done. There is a difference in quality, but the Dutch nets work fine, excellent, or excellent in most places.

Changing your fixed provider is much more drastic. Maybe you still use an email address that is tied to your provider. Since 2020, vendors have promised to forward your mail for another six months, long enough to notify everyone of the move.

Fear of technical adjustments is a major barrier. Behind the meter cabinet, handyman nephew law applies. The more devices in your home that need to be changed with the help of a handy cousin, the less likely it is to change.

This law applies, for example, to people who are attached to their TV subscription and do not want to use another remote control. Or for those who don’t like to poke around in router settings or Wi-Fi network. It works well?

Providers would like to sell or rent their WiFi range extenders to you – even more devices the nephew has to show up for. But if you set up your home network separately from your provider, you’ll have more freedom to switch providers in the future. You don’t even have to use the provider’s modem anymore. In this way, he is once again the owner of his own meter cabinet.

marc hijink write about technology. Twitter: @MarcHijinkNRC

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