Half of UK can’t do without ‘essential’ internet and mobile phones

Study finds the majority believe they wouldn’t get by without a mobile phone and internet access, while landlines - especially among younger folk - are no longer considered important…

Over half of the people in the UK believe it's impossible to live without the internet and mobile phones, according to new research.

A survey by Ofcom, the communications regulator, revealed that 59% consider mobile phones essential, while 57% said they couldn't cope without internet access.

Not surprisingly, age is a big factor when it comes to newer or more old-fashioned technology. The landline telephone's considered a necessity by 61% of over-75s, but only 12% of 16 to 24-year-olds.

In contrast, a smartphone with internet access was vital to 53% of the younger age group, but not a single one of the over-75s taking part in the survey agreed.

The research also looked at the affordability of the services we see as being essential. Fortunately, among the bill payers surveyed, 86% said they'd never had any real difficulty meeting the costs of their home phone, mobile or broadband.

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's consumer group director, said: "While it's encouraging that the majority of people don't experience difficulties paying for their communications services, it's important that help is available for those who do."

Ofcom is currently undergoing a programme of work to improve links between debt charities and home telecoms providers, to encourage them to be more responsive to the changing circumstances of customers who fall into financial difficulty.

It's worth bearing in mind, if you're struggling with money, that low-income households claiming benefits can often get a discount on their home phone or broadband.

If you're with BT, you can get BT Basic line rental, which only costs £15.30 every three months rather than the standard £15.99 a month and includes a £4.50 call allowance.

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