HOUSEHOLDS that risk being “pushed into poverty” by huge broadband bills amid the cost of living crisis should be entitled to dedicated financial support from the UK Government.
That’s the call from the founder of Glasgow-based internet provider Brillband, who has accused major broadband players of “exploiting vulnerable households” as costs spiral.
Broadband rates have risen by as much as 11% this year as a result of record levels of inflation, while figures out today (Tuesday 18 October) revealed millions of people on the lowest incomes are missing out on cheaper tariffs because firms are failing to promote them properly.
Furthermore, a recent nationwide Brillband survey found almost half (40%) of Scots feel “ripped off” by their broadband provider, as rising bills continue to put a squeeze on households.
The research also found four in five (80%) believe providers should be legally obligated to give customers the best deal possible.
Brillband founder Duncan di Biase – who started the company out of frustration with his previous broadband provider – has called on the UK and Scottish Governments to “act urgently” to help people struggling to pay their bills.
He said: “Today’s findings from Ofcom, coupled with our own research, have laid bare the feeling of discontent among broadband customers, who are paying above and beyond for services that just aren’t cutting it.
“We’re living in a financial crisis, and yet millions of vulnerable households up and down the country are continuing to be exploited by the major broadband players.
“For too long, customers have been overcharged and underserved, driven by an agenda based solely on greed, and it’s time the Government stepped in to put a stop to it.
“We need swift, fast action to ensure households can stay connected without having to pay huge bills. People need help now, before more families are pushed into poverty as a result of unaffordable bills.”
According to Ofcom, around four million UK households could be getting cheaper broadband by signing up to a “social tariff”- a low-cost broadband deal offered to customers on benefits.
Only around 3.5% of those eligible for the deals are currently one on, the watchdog found.
For further information about social tariffs, visit the Ofcom website. Brillband,Scotland’s fastest and most affordable broadband provider, is now available in homes across Glasgow and Renfrewshire. Visit www.brillband.com to find out more.