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Vodafone offers cheapest social broadband deal

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Analysis by Uswitch shows that Vodafone offers the cheapest broadband tariff for households on a low income or benefits.

Vodafone offers speeds of 38Mbps for £12 a month, making it the best value for money tariff identified by the price comparison site. It comes with 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”.

Households on a low income 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.

But Uswitch found that two-thirds of vulnerable households are unaware low-income broadband tariffs exist.

‘Virtually impossible to find’ tariffs

An investigation by last month found that it was virtually impossible to find details of social broadband tariffs on the websites of some of the biggest telecoms companies.

BT lists details of its BT Home Essentials tariff, which costs £15 a month, under an “important information” section on its website, not alongside other tariffs.

Sky and Now Broadband both have deals for customers on benefits for £20 a month, but details of these can only be found on “help” sections of the relevant websites, and they are not listed together with other packages.

The cheapest deals

Uswitch found that the second cheapest social broadband deal is with Community Fibre which charges £12.50 a month. Interestingly, you don’t need to provide proof of any income support, so anyone can access this deal. However, it offers the slowest internet speed on the list at just 10Mbps, so it would be best for small households who don’t use the internet for much more than entertainment.

Virgin Media also charges £12.50 a month for 15Mbps social broadband. It comes with no fixed-term contract and no changes to the monthly price while the customer continues to receive Universal Credit. Although it offers below-average speeds of 15Mbps, Uswitch said two people could stream in HD and there would still be enough bandwidth for social media scrolling.

Hyperoptic offers the most expensive social broadband tariff, at £25 a month. But users get a fast speed for their money, at 150Mbps.