BT to charge people £50 for keeping old wi-fi routers

BBC Technology 29 Jan 2020 12:48
By Chris Fox Technology reporter
BT router

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

Since December, BT's contracts have stated that the company retains ownership of the wi-fi routers and TV set-top boxes it sends to customers.

The company told the Financial Times that it would "refurbish" the returned equipment so that it could be reused.

Rival Virgin Media already operates a similar policy.

BT told the BBC the change would eventually apply to its EE and Plusnet subsidiaries too.

It will charge customers between £43 and £50 if they want to keep their router, depending on the model.

Keeping the BT YouView set-top box will cost between £60 and £115.

It has not reduced its monthly subscription charges as a result of the change, but it said customers would not be charged up-front for a router or TV box.

Customers will be sent a padded envelope to return their router to BT.

The company said any previous customer who still has an old BT router lying around is welcome to return it.

"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.

Like many broadband providers, BT "locks" its routers to its network, so they cannot be used with rival broadband services.

"That way they wouldn't need to be sent back to BT."

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