Communications Affordability Tracker

15 September 2023

Ofcom regularly monitors people’s experience of communications services. This summary sets out the findings from our latest research into the affordability of home broadband, mobile phone, landline and pay TV services.

For more information about our work on affordability, please visit the Affordability of communications services page.

8 million UK households continue to have difficulty affording communications services

In July 2023, around three in ten (28%) households we surveyed had difficulty affording a communication service. This remains consistent with April 2023.

In total, we estimate that around 8 million UK households (+/- 800,000) continue to find it difficult to afford communications service(s).

The most financially vulnerable* (42%), those on means tested benefits (40%) and households with someone who has an impacting or limiting condition (37%) continue to be among those most likely to have difficulty affording communications services.

Households are continuing to make changes to their communications services and reduce spend elsewhere so that they can afford them

The proportion of households that have made changes to a communications service (e.g. switched tariff) (13%) has remained at the same level as April 2023. Households have continued to reduce spend elsewhere, such as on food or clothes (13%), or cancelled a communications service (8%). Making changes to payment method (5%) and missing a payment (3%) continue to be reported at a lower rate.

Households are facing Broadband affordability issues at a similar level to April 2023

In July 2023, the proportion of households with pay-TV (11%), SVoD (10%) and mobile phone (10%) services experiencing affordability issues continued to be higher compared to those struggling to afford fixed broadband (7%) and landline (4%) services.

The incidence of households finding it difficult to afford their fixed broadband service (7%) has remained similar to our findings in April 2023 (9%). Whilst the overall reported level of broadband affordability issues has remained consistent, the proportion of households making changes to their fixed broadband service (including switching tariff) has declined compared to the previous wave of our survey (4% vs 7% respectively). This may in part be due to many consumers having already reacted to the price rises in and around April 2023.

* Respondents providing sufficient personal data (household income and number of children in household) have been allocated to three levels of financial vulnerability: Most, Potentially and Least.

Download the data

The data used in these charts is available to download via our statistical release calendars.

Data from previous research