Britain’s “digital divide” has not disappeared, according to a new consumer watchdog report, and could “derail the [UK] Government’s target of achieving ”near universal participation in the digital economy””. Created through the merger of Energywatch, Postwatch and the National Consumer Council. Consumer Focus is the new statutory organisation campaiging for a fair deal for consumers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The report says that even though broadband is “rapidly becoming an essential tool for modern life” with overall take-up just below 60%, there are still 17 million non-users, a “significant proportion” of which are “older people, those on low incomes, mobile only households and those with disabilities”. The digital exclusion, says Consumer Focus, “is following and compounding existing forms of disadvantage” including poverty. Instead of focusing on delivery networks and speeds, says the organisation, politicians should demand that ISPs “offer affordable deals for consumers on low incomes”.

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