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CommunityFibre Survey Claims 1 in 5 Cannot Afford Broadband Bill

Thursday, June 9th, 2022 (11:48 am) - Score 1,776

A new study of 1,500 UK based adults, which was commissioned by London-focused ISP CommunityFibre and conducted by Perspectus Global in March 2022, has claimed that 20% of Brits cannot afford to pay their broadband bill and 33% would rather cut back on their fuel use than cut back on internet access to save money.

The cost-of-living crisis is currently hitting everybody and, according to the new survey, some 53% of respondents admit they know someone who cannot afford to have data on their mobile phone, or broadband at home.

Furthermore, 31% of respondents claim they’ve been forced to limit the amount they spend on data as the cost-of-living crisis bites, while 13% added that their own children are often unable to do their schoolwork online due to a lack of internet access.

The survey then goes on to highlight a number of other findings.

Additional Survey Highlights

· 17% of Brits regularly struggle to keep up with their broadband payments

· 18% admit they usually run out of data before the end of the month

· 29% will have no choice but to cut back on data to save money

· 21% regularly rely on friends or neighbours to access the internet

· 12% say they are concerned they come across unprofessional when working from home as their WiFi connection is so poor

· 28% admit they have at one time struggled to carry out at least one of the following – make a GP appointment, apply for a job, access government services or pay bills – because of lack of internet access [EDITORS NOTE: A lot of GPs suspended online appointments during the pandemic and many have yet to restart it, thus this may impact on the result]

The survey doesn’t delve deep enough into the individual requirements, locations and situations of each respondent, which makes it difficult to get the full context (e.g. were those having problems aware that cheaper and / or faster packages may be available?). Likewise, problems with WiFi could just as easily relate to the local network, rather than the broadband line. In short, take these results with the usual pinch of salt.

Naturally, CommunityFibre has a vested interest here as they’re keen to plug their Essential 10Mbps package, which costs just £12.50 a month on a 12-month contract (includes a Linksys WiFi 5 mesh router and installation). The ISP originally launched this in 2021 as a temporary social tariff, but it’s now been made available to all new customers (i.e. being in receipt of state benefits is NOT required).

Graeme Oxby, CEO of CommunityFibre, said:

“Entertainment aside, the online world has grown to be crucial for work, education, access to medical care, and checking up on loved ones. Internet access is therefore a basic right, not a luxury – this belief is in the foundations of everything we do at Community Fibre. Learning that over 13 million people in the UK and roughly two million in London, cannot afford to be online encourages us to be even more ambitious with our goals to connect communities with the most affordable, but also fastest full fibre network. We’ve already committed to no in-contract price hikes this year and covering 60% of London’s premises by 2024, and we’re excited to work even harder to provide the best for our community.”

CommunityFibre are one of the cheapest ISPs in the market, although toob will do a 1Gbps package for just £25 per month and a few other Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) operators have deals in a similar price range. The catch-22 being that the cheapest alternative network platforms are only available to a small percentage of UK premises (e.g. CommunityFibre itself only covers 500,000 premises).

On the core issue of affordability, it’s worth noting that broadband connectivity remains a relatively small cost next to the currently obscene prices for things like petrol, gas, weekly food shopping, electricity and, in some cases, even water. Likewise, the cost of mobile broadband data has also come down dramatically over the past few years, which makes internet via mobile devices are lot more useful – bucking the trend of other utility services.

Broadband is also an extremely important service and one that can help you save money on other products and services; thus, it could be argued that a modern internet connection more than pays for itself in the value it returns. Likewise, if somebody is struggling to pay for broadband, then it follows that they’ve probably got more fundamental problems with their other and much bigger bills (e.g. electricity and gas) to worry about.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
23 Responses
  1. Mike says:

    They can’t afford broadband can afford Sky, 2 packs of cigs a day and takeaway every other day.

    1. Magnetic River says:

      This. Has an iPhone 13 pro max. Can’t afford internet.
      Has a subscription to sky, netflix, hello fresh. Needs to make use of foodbank.
      Turns up in Burberry, Nike, North Face but “can’t afford the ‘tory cost of living'”.

      And then the lefties try to make you feel bad for criticising it. Nope.

    2. John says:

      Don’t forget:
      Pints at the pub
      The lottery inc trips to ladbrokes
      Regular fast food (that can be more expensive than good food)
      Regular clothes shopping
      Using public transport for walkable trips
      etc other bad financial pitfalls that disproportionately target the poor

      Meanwhile champagne socialists will advocate for more taxes

    3. Jim bean says:

      Malignant narcissist writes

  2. Gary H says:

    Wow, what a pair of balanced insightful chaps you two are. Succinctly covered just why people on low incomes or benefit/pensions are finding it a struggle.

    I dearly hope both of your posts were Trolling as that’d make you better human beings than your comments suggest.

    1. Magnetic River says:

      Oh look, it didn’t take long before one of the Labour voters came to greet us. He’s better than everyone because he votes Labour didn’t you know? He’s better than everyone because he sees anyone on benefits and thinks what a poor soul, there should be a law requiring people who work hard to give them half their pay cheques.

      Yes all people on benefits are 100% genuine, aren’t they? Never work for cash-in-hand. Wouldn’t possibly have an unexplainable £35,000 BMW on the drive while also not working due to ‘bad back’.

      I will not feel guilty for criticising those people. Nor should anyone.

    2. Mike says:

      Rich = Spend like their poor.

      Poor = Spend like their rich.

    3. New_Londoner says:

      * They’re

      (If you must make sweeping generalisations, at least make sure that you can spell!)

    4. Lambda says:

      @Magnetic River
      Give it a rest. There are genuinely some people out there who cannot afford things through no fault of their own. Of course, some are stupid and cheat the system. Not everyone does this. Most actually use the welfare system for what it’s designed to be – a safety net.

      Sincerely, a (one nation) Tory voter who finds your comments embarrassing.

    5. Ad47uk says:

      @Gary H, While there are people who are struggling and finding it hard to live, there are also people who say they are struggling and yet, as been said above, able to have Sky T>v and go and buy a ton of lottery scratch cards and other stuff that if you are struggling to make ends meet are thing to give up or at least cut down on.

      Some of these people are on benefits, and others work fewer hours and less pay than me. I have to look at what I spend.

  3. JJ says:

    Do you have a link to the source?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Like most press releases, it was emailed.

  4. Josh Welby says:

    Hi everyone,
    Like to correct the two Chaps above

    I am on benefits because I look after
    my two elderly Parents full time

    No, I do not Gamble,
    I do not Drive either, so a Car
    for me would not be good at all
    I have a Bus Pass, luckily, to get around to important Appointments

    I Smoke a little, not two packets a day,
    certainly not

    Food Shoppinng is a struggle, yes,
    also Broadband is a struggle too,
    because of the little Money I get
    from the DWP

    Yes, I live in London

    I thought I should have my say on this matter/topic

    1. Ad47uk says:

      there are some that do struggle, i know a couple that are on long term sick and they struggle, but I also know others who are not working and can afford more than me, makes me wonder why I work my guts out for.

      Talking of which, I now have to go to work, 🙁

  5. Sam P says:

    I worked for the DWP and I can tell you categorically that the vast majority, not all as evidenced above, are extremely poor with handling their finances. The old jokes mentioned above of smoking, drinking, take away food, top rate Sky and Virgin Media TV (there are others), lottery tickets by the bucket load, labelled clothes, are all true.

    I used to say to my colleagues and the management that I was wasting my time there. Hence why I don’t work for them anymore and all I was doing was enabling them to carry on their poor choice life styles and I wasn’t actually helping them.

    With the latest unemployment figures (yes we know they do not reflect the true number), however they are a good guide stating that there are more job vacancies than unemployed persons, which begs the real questions we already know `why ?`. Why don’t they get a job? Why are they also complaining of being poor? Why are they using food bank?
    Does poverty real exist or is it a lifestyle choice?

    1. Geralt says:

      Benefits are tied to employment. Why get a job when free money is better

      Also a consequence of zero financial literacy being taught in schools

  6. John Irvine says:

    I don’t agree that an ‘essentials’ package of £12 for 10Mb is a social tariff – it clearly isn’t if it is available to all customers. A social tariff is a tariff that provides equivalent affordable service – say, 100Mb service – to a customer who cannot afford service because they are out of work or on benefits. Access to a social tariff needs to ‘means tested’ by, for example, providing proof of benefit payments or pension credit.

    What use is a 10Mb ‘essentials’ service to a single mum with three school age children who require internet for schooling and entertainment?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      That’s because it isn’t one John, at least not any more. As the article says:

      “The ISP originally launched this in 2021 as a temporary social tariff, but it’s now been made available to all new customers (i.e. being in receipt of state benefits is NOT required).”

    2. Jerry says:

      £12.50 is truly brilliant value for money for 10Meg symmetrical over full-fibre.

      I was stuck on 1.5 Meg ADSL for years paying the monthly £37.98 ransom to BT
      I would have been delighted to accept this offer and still would today (I’m on FTTC £25)

      People don’t seem to realise they don’t need 100Mb-1Gb when they only have 2 iPads at home.

  7. Jamie White says:

    I think FTTP specifically needs to be installed on demand.

    I think other options also need to be looked to manage installation costs. There are a few distinct ways things could be done

  8. Sunil Sood says:

    Community Fibre don’t actually market the Essential 10 Mbps with their other fibre packages on their website – so unsure how new customers would know of its existence.

    I also note that using the “Suggest a Service” option on their website, the minimum speed suggested seems to be 500 Mbps, not even their 75 Mbps service, let alone this new one!

  9. Rahul says:

    To be honest, I’d have to disagree with the survey somewhat. For one, broadband is one of the cheapest utilities, if not the cheapest!

    When you compare against all the other things such as gas and electricity. The transport cost, especially in London. Underground train is very expensive. Just between Zone 1 and 2. It can take as much as £6.40 just going one way and returning back as in my case recently traveling to White City from Whitechapel thinking it will be from Zone 2-2. What used to be £1.50 is now £3.20! Something has changed recently.

    If most of us had to pay for transport per week just to get to work that would cost around £25-30 a week more than most broadband packages that we pay in a month!

    I’m now paying £39.86 close to £40 to TalkTalk for FTTC out of contract package. Yes, that’s nearly double what I was paying the last 2 years. I haven’t rushed to switch providers because apparently CommunityFibre are meant to come to my building soon within a month if that is correct (according to email support).

    Also there is one problem with some tenants where they leave their home and quite deliberately do not pay their broadband bills (even when they can afford to). I had a bad tenant a few months ago in one of our flats where we rent out. Although he paid all our rent, he didn’t pay TalkTalk the bills and he left the TalkTalk router behind and didn’t bother to take it because he knew he had no plans to recontinue the package in another home.

    We kept receiving letters for months saying that bill must be paid or the tenant will be taken to court. Of-course the bill was in his name, so luckily we weren’t in trouble. It took some time to explain to the provider as the line was ceased and the next tenant had difficulty signing up to another provider using the same Openreach network. Finally my tenant managed to sign up after much talks on the phone.

    It is quite possible that the survey taken by CommunityFibre is due to the 1 in 5 (tenants in particular) leaving the apartment for another flat and failing to pay bills because the new flat that they’ve moved to probably doesn’t have CommunityFibre.

    It doesn’t mean that these people can’t afford to pay the bills! They just don’t want to as they moved away and aren’t able to receive the service while being tied to a contract that they can’t end unless they pay all the remaining bills!

    This can be a big problem for tenants where a niche altnet provider isn’t available everywhere they move as they will be trapped having to pay bills for a service they can’t continue to receive.

    That’s why I believe Altnets are only really suitable for council and leaseholder residents where they live in one place and their position is secure where they can see out a contract without having to worry about moving out.

  10. Jim bean says:

    As soon as the least fortunate is mentioned the Daily Hate Mail rag readers turn up spouting their tales of garbage of unemployed owning BMWs and having luxuries. More than likely making stuff up, Must make them feel really big kicking down on those who have very little. FYI fellas that money goes back into the economy, what do you think they are doing with it, stuffing it in a mattress?

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