Affordability of communications services
Making sure people can access affordable phone, broadband and pay TV services is a priority for Ofcom.
Ofcom has a duty to carry out, publish and take account of consumer research regarding the experiences of consumers of communications services. In discharging these duties, we regularly collect and publish market intelligence and consumer research information on the services available, the prices of these services, the take-up by consumers, the reasons for not taking up services, and the overall spend on communications services.
Our regular monitoring of consumer affordability of communications services finds that some households struggle to afford communications services.
This report outlines updated research findings on the affordability of communications services, with a particular focus on fixed broadband given the importance that people place on being able to access the internet at home. Our findings and analysis highlight the ongoing role social tariffs can play in supporting households on means-tested benefits to afford these services.
Read our findings
Download the data
Communications Affordability Tracker
Awareness of social tariffs
Many people’s finances have changed significantly over the last year, with some facing particular challenges. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, we have collected new information on the affordability of communications services in the UK, including from our Covid-19 Affordability Tracker research and information collected from providers on customer debt, disconnection and pricing. In December 2020 we published a summary of initial findings on the affordability of major communications services.
Since then, we have continued to conduct research and monitor other affordability indicators, such as levels of consumer debt. In this report, we set out further evidence and our assessment of the scale of affordability issues with communications services. To reflect the importance of people being able to access the internet, we pay particular attention to the affordability of fixed broadband and mobile internet services. We conclude by setting out the steps that we consider providers should take to help address the affordability issues we have identified.