Vodafone launches cheapest social broadband tariff
Vodafone has introduced a £12 a month broadband deal for people on certain benefits.
Vodafone Essentials Broadband is the cheapest social broadband tariff available – the next best deal is Virgin Media O2’s Essential tariff which costs £12.50 a month.
The move comes just a few weeks after Ofcom urged Vodafone, TalkTalk, Shell Energy, EE and Plusnet to introduce social broadband tariffs.
Social tariffs provide cheaper broadband and phone packages for people claiming certain benefits. Some providers call them ‘essential’ or ‘basic’ broadband.
Vodafone research estimates that almost a million families are at risk of falling on the wrong side of the digital divide due to the rising cost of living. It found that the cost to families of not being connected and missing out on online prices and deals is as much as £286 a month.
Vodafone Essentials Broadband is available to people on Job Seekers Allowance, Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Allowance and Personal Independence Payment.
Customers can join without a set-up fee, leave for free at any time and won’t be subject to in-contract price changes. The plan gives access to Vodafone’s Fibre 1 or Full Fibre 1 Essentials Broadband plan for 12 months, with average download speeds of 38Mbps.
‘Cheapest on the market’
Ahmed Essam, Vodafone UK CEO, said: “The rising cost of living is putting a million families at risk of falling on the wrong side of the digital divide. We must not allow this to happen.
“So as part of our everyone connected programme, today we are launching Vodafone Essentials Broadband at just £12 a month, the cheapest on the market, and 12 months free broadband for small businesses. Vodafone is the only network provider to offer social tariffs across fixed and mobile, meaning eligible customers can access mobile and broadband connectivity for 72p a day.”
Catherine Hiley, broadband expert at Uswitch.com, said: “Access to reliable broadband is a household necessity, and this new Vodafone social tariff is a welcome addition to the line-up of deals available to help those in need.
“Ofcom has been calling on every provider to introduce social tariffs. And while some have been slow to act, it is positive to see they are listening.
“Financially vulnerable people now have several options when it comes to broadband social tariffs. And notably, this deal is £3 less per month than the BT Home Essential package.
“Means-tested social tariffs are a lifeline for lower-income customers, but many still don’t know they are available. These tariffs are often difficult to find on the provider’s own website and more effort must be made to reach out to those that most need them.
“If you’re not eligible for a social tariff but are still struggling to afford your broadband, shop around for the best deals available. There are some competitively priced deals out there, such as Hyperoptic’s 30 Mbps Fibre Broadband for £15 per month or Vodafone’s Superfast 1, offering 38 Mbps for £20 per month.”