Ed Vaizey consults Talk Talk boss Dido Harding about clearing up broadband marketing

Communications minister Ed Vaizey is seeking advice from Talk Talk chief executive Dido Harding about cleaning up the marketing of broadband packages.

Ed Vaizey
Ed Vaizey

In a meeting in October, Harding explained separate line rental prices were "purely marketing" and a broadband package "costing £2 plus £10 line rental could just as easily be billed [as] £12 broadband". 

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is researching consumer understanding around bundled pricing later in the year, but no final decision has yet been made on whether to proceed with the research.

In addition, the only role Harding could envisage for Ofcom in pushing industry towards single bundle products would be in "championing clarity".

There is clearly a demand for single bundle broadband products because the most searched term on the Talk Talk website is "broadband only".

Currently, the ASA requests advertisers ensure line rental costs are presented clearly alongside the most prominently stated bundle prices.

The requirement comes after a landmark ruling in 2012 saw it grant a three month grace period for the sector to bring marketing communications into line after a number of Virgin Media ads were banned.

Virgin Media ran a press ad, circular and TV ad that did not give due prominent to the fact there would be a £13.90 a month line rental charge in addition to the prices it was quoting for its broadband packages.