According to new research, seven million low-income households are missing out on cheaper internet.
The Liberal Democrats have requested that the government compel providers to offer’social tariffs’ to benefit recipients.
According to new research, more than seven million low-income households are overpaying for broadband because the government has not forced providers to offer lower rates.
Some businesses offer “social tariffs,” which allow people on benefits or with low incomes to pay an average of £10 to £20 per month.
Ministers, according to the Liberal Democrats, failed to use powers granted by the Communications Act to make social tariffs mandatory, causing millions of households to overpay.
The Lib Dems’ analysis is based on figures from the House of Commons Library, which show that if households receiving any benefits were eligible, over seven million homes would see their bills reduced.
According to a report by Ofcom, six broadband providers, including BT and Virgin Media, offer cheaper tariffs to people on benefits, but take-up of those deals is low because companies are not doing enough to promote them.
“The most vulnerable in our society are bracing themselves for a cost of living crisis, with energy bills skyrocketing, mortgage repayments set to skyrocket, and unfair Tory tax hikes leaving everyone feeling the squeeze,” Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for digital, culture, media, and sport, said.
“A cut in broadband bills could give families the breathing room they need this winter, but the Conservative government is choosing to sit on its hands and leave millions of people overpaying.”
“Broadband access is necessary for learning, working, and staying connected.”
The Liberal Democrats believe that the government should at the very least provide a lifeline in the form of social tariffs to anyone who needs it.”
BT, Community Fibre, Hyperoptic, KCOM, Virgin Media, and VOXI all have low-cost tariffs for people on benefits, according to Ofcom’s report.
Following changes to the Communications Act in December, the government now has the authority to order Ofcom to make it mandatory for all providers to offer a social tariff.
“Everyone deserves affordable broadband,” a spokesperson for the DCMS said.
We’ve successfully negotiated low-cost broadband deals with BT, Virgin Media, and others for anyone on Universal Credit or other means-tested benefits.
“These tariffs are available to eligible households in 98% of the UK, and we’re working with providers to bring even more affordable tariffs to market.”
New research warns that seven million low-income families are missing out on cheaper internet.
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Broadband: Seven million low-income households are missing out on cheaper internet, warns new research