- by theguardian
- 24 Mar 2023
A Labour government would enforce a cheap broadband tariff for low-income families as well as taking action on mid-contract price hikes, the shadow culture secretary will announce.
Labour will say broadband is an essential utility and that figures from the regulator Ofcom show almost a third of households (8 million) are having problems paying their broadband, phone and streaming bills. That is double the number a year ago.
The party will say that a failure to agree a tariff would mean a Labour government setting one and legislating to enforce it.
Universal credit claimants can already qualify for some heavily discounted broadband deals from some providers but the schemes are not well publicised or understood. There is no requirement for telecoms providers to offer social tariffs for broadband products.
Labour analysis suggests customers who are eligible for a social tariff could save an average of Â£250.32 a year.
The party has said it will also reverse changes that now allow wholesale broadband prices to rise with the rate of inflation, rather than costs, meaning that providers have had a Â£1.7bn windfall.
Wholesale prices for 2023 will be set this October, with inflation estimated to reach a peak of 13%. As a result, broadband bills could increase by a quarter.
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