JULIE ELLIOTT: Broadband price rise will only add to the cost of living crisis

The cost of living crisis is affecting everyone - from rising energy and gas prices, to rising food costs, and now, broadband too.

“The internet is as essential as the utilities in our homes that we often take for granted.”
“The internet is as essential as the utilities in our homes that we often take for granted.”

As baseline broadband prices are to rise by at least 11% by April 2023, this will increase broadband prices for many people.

Access to the internet plays an integral role in how we live.

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It is as essential as the utilities in our homes that we often take for granted, and is an essential service for people working remotely as so many now do, to young people and students reliant on technology for their studies. It is also extremely essential to businesses who use online platforms to sell their product, and schools who use technology for learning.

The pandemic also fast-tracked the movement of online services such as banking. As branches closed on high streets here in Sunderland and across the north, online access to services is the often the best way of finding cheaper deals, and sometimes the only way.

This price rise will simply cut more people off and make these services even more inaccessible.

Ofcom has said that they will be investigating providers that do not make their new prices clear, but Ofcom and the involved providers have a responsibility to their customers and should be offering more help to customers.

At a time when all costs are going up we should be demanding more from those who are able to help customers keep bills down.

And the impending broadband price increase will only add to the already troubling cost of living crisis. Housing and living costs have soared under this current Conservative Government. Services on their knees, high energy costs, long NHS waiting times; it’s simply not good enough, and the people of this country deserve better.

From under-investment in the energy sector, which has led to the UK having the least energy efficient housing in Europe, to the upcoming increase in broadband costs, which will bring yet higher bills to people’s already stretched budgets, this country is simply not functioning as it should.

Labour is determined to protect people and their interests, something that the current government has failed to do. If we look at the last 13 years of Conservative government, it is important that we ask ourselves whether we are better off now, than we were back when the Conservatives were elected.

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As the country is in chaos, I think the answer to that question has to be no.