Communications Affordability Tracker

27 February 2024

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.

8 million UK households continue to have difficulty affording communications services

In January 2024, just under three in ten (28%) households we surveyed had difficulty affording a communication service. This has remained consistent since April 2022.

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

As seen in previous waves, households with children, those in receipt of benefits, and those with a resident with an impacting/limiting condition continue to be among those most likely to have difficulty affording communications services.

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

The proportion of households that are reducing spend elsewhere to afford communications services, such as on food or clothes (13%) and/or are making changes to a communication service (e.g. switched package or tariff) (12%), has remained in line with October 2023. Similarly, households that have cancelled a communication service in the last month (8%), made changes to a payment method (5%) and missed a payment (5%), remains consistent with what was reported in October 2023. All five affordability issues have remained broadly unchanged since January 2023.

Households continue to face affordability issues with communications services

In January 2024, households taking pay-TV (13%) and/or SVoD (12%) were the most likely to say they struggled to afford these services. Eight per cent of households with a fixed broadband found it difficult to afford their service, this equates to around 1.9 million (± 500,000) UK households and 9% of those with a mobile phone, which equates to around 2.4 million (± 500,000) UK households, found it difficult to afford their service in the previous month. Compared to October 2023, households with a landline saying that they struggled to afford their service has decreased (3% vs 7%), this is a return to similar levels seen in previous waves.

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

Communications affordability tracker - technical annex

Communications affordability tracker - technical annex (October 2023) (PDF, 253.1 KB)

Download the data

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

Data from previous research

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