UK-airwaves-2Mobile phones and the internet are now vital for British people.

Research from Ofcom found that 57% of people think that personal internet access is an essential part of their lives, with 61% considering landline and mobile voice services vital and 59% classing mobile text and voice services as something they cannot do without.

However, younger people are more likely to consider modern technology as essential than their elders, who are more likely to view traditional modes of communication in this way. For example, while only 12% of 16-to-24-year-olds consider their landline a necessity, this rises to 61% among people over 75, and while nobody over the age of 75 gave smartphone internet access paramount importance in their lives, 53% of respondents aged 16 to 24 did.

When asked what ‘essential’ means when it comes to communication services, there was broad consensus across all age ranges, with people saying the ability to keep in touch with friends and loved ones, call the emergency services, or access educational, informative and entertaining media were some of the key functions of an essential communication service.

The study also found that people are not struggling to pay for these vital tools; 86% of people who pay for their communication services said they have never found it difficult to handle the bills, with just 2% falling behind on payments or going into debt because of telecoms costs. Of the 14% that said they had found it challenging to keep on top of their bills, 36% said they opted for cheaper equipment and service costs, 45% cut back their expenditure on luxuries and 74% became more careful about their outgoings.

Nonetheless, some low-income households are unable to afford services others might view as essential, with 7% of Ofcom research participants saying they would like to have broadband but cannot afford to.

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