Low income earners miss out on Internet access

New Australian survey finds a total of 56.1 per cent of respondents do not access the Internet on their mobile

Low income earners can’t afford an Internet connection, according to research commissioned by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

The survey by Anglicare Victoria found 49.2 per cent of respondents on low incomes can’t afford fixed line Internet at home, with 12.5 per cent of those on dial-up access.

A total of 56.1 per cent do not access the Internet on their mobile, with just 18.2 per cent of respondents with mobile Internet access.

“Too many low income earners are deprived of essential communications services, and while there will be some who choose not to be connected, it is clear from the data that many of the lowest-income Australians are not connected because they can’t afford it,” Teresa Corbin, ACCAN CEO, said in a statement.

“It is time for a serious conversation about whether new low-income measures are required that go beyond existing measures which only help people get a fixed phone line.”

The report also found 66.0 per cent of low income mobile users have difficulty paying their account. Meanwhile, 38.2 per cent said they did not have a fixed phone line because they cannot afford it.

“ACCAN believes any discussion around this issue should consider whether retail service providers are being sufficiently encouraged to implement low-income measures,” ACCAN said.