Like rival Virgin Media, BT will require new subscribers to return routers and set-top boxes at the end of their contracts -- or pay up to £50 ($65).
It's a move the UK incumbent describes as environmentally friendly since it reduces waste, the BBC reported today. This change will prevent an estimated 1 million set-top devices being thrown into landfills, BT estimated.
It also dramatically curtails costs for BT, which can now immediately re-use the equipment or send it out for use after it's been refurbished with updated software.
BT amended its contracts in December to state the operator now retains ownership of WiFi routers and set-top boxes. Eventually, BT will apply the same policy to its EE and Plusnet subsidiaries, it told the BBC. Subscription prices remain the same, BT said. However, the operator will not charge subscribers up-front for the hardware, it added.
If customers want to keep their routers, the operator will charge between £43 and £50 ($56 to $65), depending on the model. Retaining a BT YouView set-top box will cost between £60 and £115 ($78 to $150), depending on the equipment.
Since BT hardware cannot be used on other providers' networks, ex-subscribers typically do not want the devices and either try to sell them or simply toss them.
This year alone, the world's population had discarded almost 4 million tons of electronic waste as of 2:00 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Jan. 29, according to The World Counts, which calculates in real-time the amount of wasted e-trash generated globally.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News
(Home page art: BT)