Community Fibre is calling for entry-level broadband to be made available for everyone
Nearly half (43 per cent) of Londoners over 60 have said they have struggled to make appointments and pay bills due to being behind on their broadband and mobile data payments.
According to research by Community Fibre and Age UK London, 14 pc of those surveyed experienced loneliness due to having no access to WhatsApp and social media and 71 pc say having internet access is essential to modern life.
The UK government has asked broadband providers to help customers during the cost-of-living crisis, and many networks have launched social tariff broadband packages where customers are eligible if they are on Universal Credit.
Age UK London has highlighted an issue with this, as pensioners are excluded from many social tariffs as Universal Credit is only to people under the age of 67 and they have to claim Pension Credit instead.
Age UK London CEO Abigail Wood said: “London has the highest level of pension poverty in the country, so the cost of broadband is a particular barrier to getting online for older people living in the capital.
“As part of our Mind the Digital Gap campaign, Age UK London is calling on all internet providers to make their cheapest deals available to older customers to help reduce the digital divide.”
Access to cheaper broadband
Community Fibre is currently the only broadband provider that doesn’t ask new customers to prove eligibility to receive a social tariff package.
Community Fibre CEO Graeme Oxby added: “Barriers preventing those on a state pension from accessing an affordable social broadband tariff only widens the digital divide between old and young.
“At Community Fibre we believe that everybody, regardless of age or economic circumstance, should be able to access reliable, affordable, and fast full fibre broadband.”