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Broadband Social Tariffs: Can You Qualify for a Cheaper Connection?


Millions of financially vulnerable families can get a cheaper broadband deal and save hundreds of pounds by opting for a social tariff

  • Data shows millions are unaware that there are social definitions of broadband
  • These deals give low-income families deals online
  • We reveal which companies offer plans and how much people can save










New research reveals that two-thirds of low-income families are unaware of the existence of social definitions of broadband.

Social tariffs are means-tested offerings for broadband customers receiving government benefits such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Job Seeker Allowance, and Income Support.

It is estimated that about 16 million people qualify for the tariffs but less than 15 percent apply for them, according to research from uSwitch.

This means that 10 million financially vulnerable households have not signed up for the social tariff they might be eligible for, yet could save them hundreds annually on their broadband bills.

Millions of people are unaware that low-income families can access broadband social tariffs

The average monthly spending on broadband among those who qualify for social tariffs is £34.50, so applying for BT Home Essentials at £15 a month could save eligible customers £19.50 a month, or £234 a month. the year.

With inflation soaring to its highest levels in a decade, uSwitch is advising eligible customers who may struggle with their bills to see if social tariffs for broadband are right for them.

“At a time when the cost of living is rising for many families, more should be aware of the deals that may be available to those customers who suffer the most,” said Ernest Dukaux, broadband expert at uSwitch.

Since nearly three-quarters of people have never heard of social definitions, it is not surprising that acquisition is not as high as it should be.

Social tariffs are an important way for financially vulnerable families to get decent service at a lower cost, and providers like BT, Virgin Media, Community Fiber, Hyperoptic and others are doing their best to help.

If you claim one or more government benefits in your household, you may be entitled to switch to these tariffs, which could reduce broadband bills by an average of £234 per year.

“If a social tariff isn’t right for you, or isn’t currently available in your location, try to think about what you need from broadband and mobile before entering into a contract and don’t overpay for data or speeds you don’t need.”

Uswitch polled 2,000 adults in November 2021 for the results.

Low-income customers can save hundreds of pounds a year by switching to social tariffs

Low-income customers can save hundreds of pounds a year by switching to social tariffs

What tariffs are available?

There are a number of social definitions of broadband available to those on low incomes.

This includes BT Home Basics For just £15 a month and speeds up to 36Mbps. It also offers a faster version of 67Mbps for £20 a month.

societal fiber It is another product that is available for £10 a month but will only come with speeds of 10Mbps. It is also only available to clients in London.

excessive It gives consumers the chance to get the fastest speeds of up to 50Mbps in this Fair Fiber 50 deal.

Customers can upgrade to 150Mbps for £25 a month instead.

TalkTalk It is still the only provider that offers broadband to customers in need for free.

Broadband costs job seekers nothing and eligible consumers will get speeds of up to 40Mbps. To read more about how it works, click here.

Customers looking to join one of these tariffs must verify their eligibility first and some vary depending on the benefits they are currently receiving.

Extensive social tariff available
the product Monthly cost Speed eligibility – eligibility
BT Home Basics £15 About 36 Mbps Universal Credit (all claimants), Pension Credit (Security Credit), Employment and Support Allowance (eligibility rules apply), Job Seekers Allowance (eligibility rules apply), Income support
BT Home Basics 2 £20 About 67 Mbps Universal Credit (all claimants), Pension Credit (Security Credit), Employment and Support Allowance (eligibility rules apply), Job Seekers Allowance (eligibility rules apply), Income support
societal fiber £10 10 Mbps Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-Based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Work and Income-Linked Support (ESA) Allowance, Worker Backward Support, and Personal Independence Payment. Based in London.
50 . hyperluminous fibers £15 50 Mbps income support. Credit retirement. Income-Related Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). housing benefit. Personal independence payment, attendance allowance, universal credit, retirement support, work allowance and income-related support (ESA). Available in 57 UK cities and towns.
150 . light fiber optic £25 150 Mbps income support. Credit retirement. Income-related Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). housing benefit. Personal independence payment, attendance allowance, universal credit, retirement support, work allowance and income-related support (ESA). Available in 57 UK cities and towns.
KCOM Full Fiber Flex £19.99 30 Mbps Income Support, Pension Credit, Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Personal Independence Payments, Attendance Allowance, Universal Credit, No Profits, Care Home Residents and Lifeline Clients Referred to Us via Social Services, Care Turkey, Employment and Support Allowance (EAS) (related to income), individuals on the government’s protected list against coronavirus (COVID-19)
Virgin Media Basic Broadband £15 15 Mbps global credit
TalkTalk Broadband for Job Seekers free Up to 40 Mbps DWP identifies eligible clients
Source: Uswitch (prices correct as of November 24, 2021)

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