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Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 171598, tabled on 18 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that gigabit broadband access is affordable for all.

Answered on

23 March 2021

To ensure consumers and businesses can take-up gigabit broadband services, the government has asked Which?, CBI and the FSB to convene a Gigabit Take-up Advisory Group (GigaTAG). The group issued a call for evidence in Autumn 2020, and has published an interim report outlining its findings in relation to barriers to take-up, and potential solutions in December 2020. A final report is due to be published by Spring 2021.

At a retail level, BT, Virgin, Hyperoptic and KCOM all offer competitive social tariff packages for those on certain means-tested benefits which offer low cost landline and broadband services. In light of the pandemic, the government is encouraging providers who do not currently offer a social tariff product to also do so.

Furthermore, to ensure that consumers can access the best deals available to them, the government and Ofcom have taken action to improve consumer engagement and to remove barriers. These include, for instance, Ofcom’s rules requiring providers to send their customers a notification when nearing the end of their contract; and steps taken to implement a data portability initiative in telecoms that will help improve the information available to consumers and businesses via third party services, such as price comparison websites.

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