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Ofcom say elderly are 'hit by line rental charges'

  
Recent increases in line rental charges have hit elderly people the hardest, according to a recent Ofcom report.
 
Between December 2009 and December 2016, line rental prices had increased by as much as 49% for some customers, the regulator said. And of the people with standalone landlines in their homes, 71% were aged 65 or over. A huge proportion (43%) of the 2.9 million households with a landline only are occupied by people aged 75 and over.
 
Ofcom recently revealed plans to make BT - with nearly 80% of the UK market - cut line rental costs by £5.
 
"Older consumers are particularly affected, as they are more likely to be dependent on fixed voice services if they do not have a mobile phone or an internet connection," the report said. Ofcom also said it was "concerned" BT's low cost option for landline-only customers - BT Basic Tariff - had not been taken up by many of the households that could benefit from it.
 
The service costs £5.10 per month and provides customers with line rental and calls worth £1.50, with free calls at weekends. "We... are working with BT, the Department for Work and Pensions and other organisations to raise awareness," Ofcom said.