The coronavirus crisis has prompted a surge in usage of services such as broadband and mobile phones, as millions of people shifted to home working and lockdown restrictions shut down high streets across the country.
Almost a fifth of UK households have struggled to pay their TV, internet and phone bills this year, with some resorting to cutting spend on food and clothes to make payments, according to research from Ofcom.
4.7m homes had experienced difficulty paying their telecoms bills in 2020. Of those, more than one million have cut back spending on items such as food or clothes.
“Lockdown has laid bare our dependence on a reliable internet connection,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s network and communications group director. “So it’s important that affordable options are available so everyone can stay connected, particularly those who have fallen on hard times.”
Alistair Cromwell, the acting chief executive at Citizens Advice, said: “Since the March lockdown began, internet access has been vital to home working, running small businesses, accessing essential services like healthcare and continuing education. It is crucial that those who are struggling financially are not locked out.”