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Virgin Media to launch broadband deal for Universal Credit claimants

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26/08/2020
Virgin Media will launch a budget broadband-only deal this autumn for customers claiming Universal Credit.

The media giant will launch its ‘Virgin Media Essential Broadband’ deal for Universal Credit recipients, offering unlimited data, 15 Mbps speed and no fixed-term contract length (it’s on a 30 day rolling contract basis) for £15 a month.

It also promises no price changes while benefit payments are being received.

The latest government statistics reveal there were 5.6 million people on Universal Credit as at 9 July 2020 – a 2% increase from June 2020.

The deal will launch in autumn and will initially be offered to existing customers before being rolled-out more widely.

Customers will need to fill out an online form and provide proof they’re in receipt of Universal Credit.

As the deal is broadband only, existing customers with a phone line or cable services such as TV won’t be able to retain them before the plan is changed. Virgin said this will be made clear to customers before they switch.

Customers can still take a separate Virgin Mobile plan which will be billed separately.

Further, Virgin Media confirms there will be no penalty or fees if an existing customer wants to switch their current package to the new deal.

If a customer stops receiving Universal Credit, they’ll be able to continue taking the “Virgin Media Essential Broadband” service at £23 per month or move to another Virgin Media package.

This is its latest bid to help customers who may be financially struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this year it provided 10GB of free mobile data to customers; introduced more kids and entertainment programming; removed data caps on broadband plans and gave customers more flexibility over their services such as the ability to temporarily pause sports subscriptions when live events were suspended.

Jeff Dodds, chief operating officer at Virgin Media, said: “We know these are tough times and that there are many people finding it more difficult to make ends meet and facing financial uncertainty. At the same time, the role of broadband in helping people to stay connected has never been clearer. Whether it’s keeping in touch with friends and family, finding advice and support or searching for jobs and working remotely – broadband underpins it all.

“With this in mind, we wanted to make sure that those customers receiving benefit payments were able to access reliable, hassle-free connectivity with enough speed to carry out essential online activities.

“Building on the industry-leading initiatives we’ve already launched for vulnerable customers, we’ll continue to work tirelessly to keep the country connected and support our customers in whatever way we can.”

Nick Baker, broadband expert at Uswitch.com, said:“This offer, which is effectively an £8 price cut for households claiming Universal Credit, will be welcome news for Virgin Media customers struggling to make ends meet. Time and again it has been seen that the most vulnerable consumers often end up on very poor value deals, so it is encouraging to see Virgin Media join other providers in offering a tariff specifically for those least likely to engage with the broadband market.”

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