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Could you save money with a social broadband tariff?

Written by: Emma Lunn
Two-thirds of low-income households are unaware they could be saving on broadband, according to Uswitch.

Households on low incomes or claiming benefits can reduce their broadband bills by taking advantage of ‘social tariffs’. These are offered to customers receiving Universal Credit or other government financial support, meaning they receive the same speed and broadband quality, but at a much cheaper rate.  

The cheapest social broadband on the market is the ‘Essentials tariff from Vodafone which costs £12 a month for 38Mbps. This comes as a 12-month contract, with no mid-contract price rises and no early exit fees. To qualify you need to be in receipt of “specific government benefits”. 

Virgin Media and Community Fibre only charge slightly more at £12.50 a month, although these deals are for slower speeds than offered by Vodafone. Community Fibre’s Essential tariff provides a speed of 10Mbps and Virgin Media’s Essential tariff is 15 Mbps.

Interestingly, with Community Fibre you don’t need to provide proof of any income support so anyone can access this deal. 

If you’re eligible for a social broadband tariff and need a fast connection, BT’s Home Essentials 2 package is £20 a month for 67Mbps while for £25 a month you could sign up to Hyperoptic’s Fair Fibre 150 which has a speed of 150Mbps.

Research by YourMoney in October 2022 found that some broadband firms – namely BT and Sky – hid details of their social tariffs on random parts of their websites.

At the other end of the scale, it was much easier to find social broadband tariffs from Virgin Media, Vodafone, G Network, and Hyperoptic.

Last year also saw regulator Ofcom ask telecoms companies to offer more social tariffs and to advertise these deals better. 

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