As many as 2.5 million people living across the UK are currently behind with their broadband internet bills, according to a new piece of research.
Citizens Advice has been looking into some of the issues consumers are currently experiencing across the country and found widespread evidence of broadband bills being a significant financial headache for a huge number of households.
In fact, it is estimated that roughly 700,000 people have fallen into debt in relation to their broadband bills since the start of the Covid pandemic.
Strikingly, the figures indicate that people aged between 18 and 34 are three times more likely to be behind with their internet bills than their counterparts in older age groups.
The situation is also understood to be far worse among people who claim Universal Credit, with those on the benefit reckoned to be around nine times more likely than anyone else to be behind with their broadband bills.
Citizens Advice said that the extent to which households are falling behind with their broadband bills represents a major societal problem given how reliant so many people now are on their internet connections to work and to carry out essential tasks online.
The charity is convinced that broadband services should now be considered an essential utility that can be accessed cheaply by people whose incomes are limited or who are in financial distress.
Only two broadband service providers currently offer tariffs for people on low incomes and Citizens Advice has said it wants to see low-cost packages made much more widely available.
“Broadband is not a luxury, it’s an essential, like gas and electricity,” said Dame Clare Moriarty, Citizens Advice’s chief executive.
“Lack of broadband creates yet another hurdle in the hunt for jobs, helping children with their schoolwork, and being able to access help, information and fill in forms online.
“Ofcom and the government must ensure everyone can afford their broadband, no matter which provider they are with.”
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