Why annual contracts?

If there’s one thing that really bugs me about the Broadband (DSL) packages on offer here in Ireland, it’s the requirement of annual contracts. In fact it doesn’t just bug me, it frustrates the hell out of me. Why can’t the Telco’s offer monthly contracts? Or quarterly contracts for that matter.

I mean come on… so much can change in a year! I might not be around this time next year, or I might decide to move house 6 months from now. I understand why there’s a need for annual contracts on mobile phones (cellphones). With them they make their money back on the price of the phone. The same could be said about Broadband packages offering a free modem with them, but all the Broadband packages here state that the modem remains the property of the Telco’s until the contract expires. So you’re not even paying for the modem!

So, why force someone into a 12 month contract when there is absolutely no need? And they (the Telco’s) can’t use the excuse that they have to have some way to pay for the upkeep of the lines because the cost of Broadband is extortionate enough (averaging around €40 per month – along with a bandwidth limit!).