Seven million low-income households lack cheaper internet, new research warns

More than seven million low-income households are paying too much for their broadband because the government has not forced providers to offer cheaper rates, according to a new study.

Some companies offer ‘social tariffs’ which allow people on benefits or on low incomes to pay on average between £ 10 and £ 20 per month.

The Liberal Democrats accused ministers of failing to use the powers of the communications law to make social tariffs mandatory, forcing millions of homes to pay more.

The Lib Dems analysis is based on figures produced by the House of Commons Library, showing that if households receiving benefits were eligible, more than seven million households would see a reduction in their bills.

Six broadband providers, including BT and Virgin Media, offer cheaper rates to people on benefits, but even acceptance of these offers is low because companies are not doing enough to promote them, according to a report by the company. ‘Ofcom.

Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat digital, culture, media and sport spokesperson, said: “The most vulnerable in our society are bracing for a cost-of-living crisis, with energy bills rising. skyrocket, mortgage payments to skyrocket and an unfair Conservative tax. hikes leaving everyone feeling the pressure.

“Lower broadband bills could be the respite families need this winter, but this Conservative government is choosing instead to stand by and let millions of people pay the money.

“Access to broadband is vital for learning, for working and for staying connected. Liberal Democrats believe the least the government can do is offer the lifeline of social tariffs to all who need it. “

The Ofcom report showed that BT, Community Fiber, Hyperoptic, KCOM, Virgin Media, and VOXI all have great rates for people on benefits.

Changes to the communications law last December mean that the tGe government can force Ofcom to make it mandatory for each provider to offer a social tariff.

A DCMS spokesperson said, “Everyone deserves affordable broadband. We have successfully negotiated with BT, Virgin Media and others to bring low-cost broadband offers to anyone with universal credit or other means-tested benefits.

“Eligible households in 99% of the UK can access these rates, and we continue to work with suppliers to bring even more affordable rates to the market. “

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