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Social tariff report finds some Manx residents will struggle to afford internet

CURA publishes findings of review into lower-priced internet packages

There are likely to be some on the Isle of Man who struggle to afford the internet.

That's one of the conclusions made in a report into social tariffs for internet users on the Isle of Man.

The Communications and Utilities Regulatory Authority has been looking into whether the Island needs to bring in different internet packages for those on lower incomes and in receipt of benefits.

Social tariffs have been in place in the UK for some time, and Tynwald backed calls for the idea to be given further consideration here last summer.

CURA has now published its findings, and says more work needs to be done to determine how much demand there would be for social tariffs on the Island, and who would be eligible.

Before taking the next step, the regulator says government must also decide whether access to the internet is considered an essential utility.

The issue of funding is covered in the report, with CURA stating a government-funded tariff would divert taxpayer funds from elsewhere, but that it would be unfair to place the burden on service providers.

The review found that in the UK, just 3.2% of those eligible have signed up to such a deal, and as a result suggests any such scheme here would need to be well promoted and implemented gradually.

The report will be laid before Tynwald in April.

'How do you decide who's eligible for a social tariff? You enter a minefield here, really.'

Douglas Central MHK Ann Corlett, political member for the authority, has been speaking to Manx Radio about the findings:

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