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One third of UK households are struggling to pay telecom bills, regulator warns

Economy Sep 29, 2022 10:41
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Nearly a third of Britain's telecoms customers – some eight million households – are finding it difficult to pay for their phone, broadband, pay-TV and streaming, according to telecoms regulator Ofcom.

The number of struggling families has doubled since last year and is at the highest level since its records began, the regulator’s annual affordability survey found.

Ofcom urged telecoms companies to provide more support for customers during the cost-of-living crisis and said the big operators should abandon the formula that sets prices at inflation plus 3.9%.

According to the survey, one in seven families has cut back spending on items such as food and clothing to be able to afford their communication services, while 9% have cancelled a service.

The regulator called on EE, Vodafone (LON:VOD), TalkTalk, Shell (LON:RDSa) Energy and Plusnet to launch social tariffs across the broadband packages they offer.

Although take-up of broadband social tariffs has more than doubled in the past six months, from 55,000 to 136,000 customers, around 97% of eligible low-income households have yet to take advantage of specially discounted superfast broadband deals which could save them around £144 a year, Ofcom noted.

It called on providers put a greater focus on promoting social tariffs and making sign-up easier.

“The cost-of-living crisis is putting unprecedented strain on household budgets. It is essential that the industry puts its customers first, and focuses on what more it can do to help support them,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s networks and communications group director.

“This includes a much stronger emphasis on offering and promoting social tariffs, as well as thinking carefully about whether significant price rises can be justified at a time when the finances of their customers are under such pressure.”

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Comments (2)
Sanjay Patel
Sanjay Patel Sep 29, 2022 14:03
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1/3 of UKs population are poor🙄
Darren MNM
Darren_M Sep 29, 2022 13:55
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They can still afford that BMW on PCP though.
 
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