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BT Will Charge New Customers £50 to Keep Old Router

Dominique Adams

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BT hopes to reduce waste by encouraging its customers to return their old Wi-Fi routers rather than throw them away. 

In an effort to reduce waste, broadband provider BT will charge new customers up to £50 if they do not send their router back to the company at the end of their contract.

BT said it would refurbish the returned devices so that they could be reused. The company told the BBC that it would ultimately roll out this policy to its EE and Plusnet subsidiaries too.

The fee to keep their router will range between £43 and £50 depending on the model. Customers keeping their BT YouView set-top box will face a cost of between £60 and £115.

Since December last year, BT has stipulated in its contracts that it retains ownership of the WiFi routers and TV set-top boxes it provides customers. BT’s rivals, such as Virgin, already operate a similar policy.

BT has not lowered its monthly subscription costs due to the change, but has said its customers will not be charged up-front for a router or TV box.

Customers will have the choice to send their device back free of charge in a padded envelop provided by the company via the post or to drop it off in store at one of its BT or EE high-street outlets.

Previous customers who still have an old router are also welcome to return it the company said.

The company believes the charge will dramatically reduce waste and will stop roughly a million set-top boxes and routers being discarded each year.

“This will help to limit the amount of waste going into landfill, and allows us to refurbish more equipment and move towards a more sustainable model,” the company said.

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BT, like many other broadband providers, locks its routers to its own network, thereby preventing people using a BT device with one of the company’s rival providers.

Cybersecurity expert Graham Cluley told the BBC: “It would surely be even more environmentally friendly if the devices allowed you to use them with other broadband services. That way they wouldn’t need to be sent back to BT.”

BT said to the BBC that it locked its devices so it could control software security updates and offer improved customer support.

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Dominique Adams

Marketing Content Manager, Trickle

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