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The broadband location lottery

Alex Johnson

5f4a6b2d08096dc489c7c7f0d0e8ab095aef69a3 300x198 The broadband location lotteryNearly three million UK households are being forced to spend an extra £170m a year for broadband solely because of where they live according to new research by broadbandchoices.co.uk

The study of more than 1.7 million British postcodes found that some broadband customers pay more than twice as much as neighbours living less than 50 metres away. As a result, broadbandchoices.co.uk estimates that 13% of internet users are being penalised as they don’t have the choice of cheaper deals due to their address, thus adding over £60 to annual broadband connection bills.

The research shows that while in some areas customers can choose from 10 providers, others have half the number of options, so some could be paying £2.99 per month for their broadband package, while others must spend £8.15 or more.

People in the same towns and even the same street can get better deals than their neighbours. So, for example, anybody living on Bartons Place in Newmarket, Suffolk could find themselves paying over twice as much for their broadband than other houses less than 50 yards away but getting a third of the download speed. Similarly, residents of Scarrowhill Road in Hornsby Gate, Cumbria, pay an extra £5 per month compared with neighbours half a mile away on the same street.

Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert from broadbandchoices.co.uk says, “Broadband has become an essential utility for people in the UK and it’s madness that in 2013 people are being penalised simply due to where they live. The government has a responsibility along with providers to ensure a consistent standard of broadband service for every household in the UK. However with the recent announcement that the government will now roll out superfast services to 95% of homes by 2017, it seems the goalposts are being repeatedly pushed back.

“Most customers will not even be aware that they are at a digital disadvantage. These discrepancies in speed and price occur when different broadband providers install their technology in different exchanges located around the country.”

New report shows impact of bedroom tax
The bedroom tax is having a major impact in one of the poorest areas of the country , says a new report from the National Housing Federation.

After nearly 100 days since the policy’s implementation, thousands of families in Merseyside are heading further into debt for the first time. Based on figures collected by the NHF from 18 housing associations across Merseyside that collectively own more than 130,000 properties, the report shows that more than 14,000 households fell into arrears with their rent and for nearly 6,000 it was the first time they had ever been in rental debt.

David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “Housing associations warned the Government from the start that the bedroom tax would not work and that families would face financial hardship and struggle to make ends meet.

“The fact is there aren’t enough smaller social homes in Merseyside for people to avoid the bedroom tax even if they wanted to move. If they rented in the private sector, where costs are higher, this would more than likely increase the benefit bill – which raises questions on why they have been asked to move in the first place. The reality is that many people will stay in their homes and will be forced to live on less money in a country where living costs and utility bills are rising. The bedroom tax is hurting the most vulnerable people in Merseyside. It is time to face the facts and repeal this unfair policy now.”

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