Half of over-60s struggle to pay for internet access

Half of over-60s struggle to pay for internet access

Date: 25/07/22

Author: Anthony Harrison

  • Pensioners are overlooked by most social tariff providers, further widening the digital divide
  • 43% of Londoners over 60 have struggled to book GP appointments online as a result of running out of internet data each month
  • Community Fibre calls for entry-level broadband to be made available to all, regardless of age or economic status

Monday, 25 July, London UK: Nearly half (43%) of Londoners over the age of 60 have struggled to make GP appointments, pay bills or access government services because they’ve been unable to keep up with broadband and mobile data payments, according to research undertaken by Community Fibre and released jointly today with campaigning charity, Age UK London.

Findings from the research also revealed that 14% of over-60s in London experienced loneliness due to being offline or not having access to social media and WhatsApp. To get by day-to-day, 71% of people over 60 in London agree that having internet access is essential to modern life.

The UK Government has called on broadband providers to do more to help ease the burden for customers due to the cost-of-living crisis. Most networks have launched ‘social tariff’ broadband packages that require customers to prove they are on Universal Credit in order to be eligible.

However, Age UK London has pointed out that pensioners are excluded by most providers offering social tariffs, because Universal Credit is only available to those under the age of 67, and those on very low incomes are eligible to claim Pension Credit rather than Universal Credit, so are not eligible for many social tariffs.

The research also shows 43% of Londoners over 60 have struggled to keep up with broadband and mobile phone payments and will run out of data before the end of the month.

Community Fibre, London's biggest and fastest 100% full fibre broadband provider is currently the only broadband provider that does not ask customers to jump through hoops and prove eligibility to get the cheapest entry product with a social tariff package. 

Abigail Wood, CEO of Age UK London commented: “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.”

Graeme Oxby, CEO of Community Fibre 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.”

Community Fibre believes that everyone should have access to affordable broadband – regardless of age, social status, or economic status - with no questions asked. Its low-cost, award-winning broadband offers the most affordable social tariff on the market, beating all the providers in the market including BT, Virgin and Sky. 

Community Fibre Essential 10 Mbps package 

Community Fibre’s Essential 10 Mbps package is available to all new customers, and proof of being on income support or any other state benefit is not required. At just £12.50 a month, it is the most affordable offer on the market. Available on a 12-month contract, the 100% full fibre connection comes with the same download and upload speeds of 10 Mbps, a free of charge Linksys Velop WiFi 5 Mesh router and free installation.


About Community Fibre

Community Fibre is future-proofing London communities by delivering 100% full-fibre broadband throughout the capital city. By believing in a more inclusive future where everyone has access to better broadband, Community Fibre offers the fastest 100% full fibre broadband in London, with up to 10 Gbps for businesses and up to 3,000 Mbps for consumers, at the most competitive prices on the market. Through offering more reliable and affordable 100% full fibre connections, Community Fibre empowers communities, enabling them to connect with friends and family and access crucial services online.

Community Fibre was named the UK’s best Consumer Internet Service Provider for the second year running at the Internet Service Provider Association (ISPA) Awards 2021, in addition to being recognised as the Best Ultrafast Broadband provider and awarded the Social Impact Award. It also won the Scaling Up category at the INCA Gold Awards in 2021.

Currently, Community Fibre operates in the following London boroughs: Barnet, Brent, Bexley, Bromley, Camden, City of London, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, and Westminster.

About Age UK London

Age UK London is a charity that campaigns for an age-friendly London. We campaign for our specific change to improve the lives of older Londoners. We also work to ensure that their experiences, needs, and contributions are heard and taken into account by decision makers.