OFCOM Publishes First Access and Inclusion Report

Ofcom has just published its first Access and Inclusion report, which examines whether the communications market is delivering for vulnerable consumers. 

The report finds that older people, and those with disabilities, or low incomes, are still using communications services less than others.  However, the gap is narrowing as these groups make greater use of computers, smartphones and tablets.

The research finds that:

·      Disabled people are using tablets and smartphones much more. Access to both types of devices rose by 16 percentage points from 2014 to 2016, reaching 46% and 57% respectively.
·      Internet access among disabled people also increased, from 65% in 2014 to 79% in 2016. However, that still leaves one in five disabled consumers who are not online.
·      People on lower incomes are more likely to shop around compared to those on higher incomes, suggesting that competition is working for those who want to save money.
·      Consumers on lower and moderate incomes continue to use services at similar levels to those on higher incomes, but an increasing number of younger consumers are experiencing problems with debt. Ofcom is currently reviewing its fair debt management policies for mobile and broadband.
·      Older people tend to have much lower engagement with the communications market, and less likely to shop around or switch.

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