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Are YOU missing out on half-price internet? Ofcom says just 1.2% of those eligible for social broadband tariffs have signed up

This Is Money logo This Is Money 17/02/2022 Emilia Shovelin For Thisismoney.Co.Uk

Millions of households could save up to £144 a year on broadband by taking advantage of 'social tariffs', but have yet to claim their discount. 

Just 1.2 per cent of those eligible have applied for the discounted broadband scheme meaning they are paying more for internet connection than they need too.

Only 55,000 households have applied for the specially discounted broadband, available to 4.2million households currently on Universal Credit, Ofcom says.    

It is calling on all broadband firms to support struggling households by introducing their own social tariffs, as the cost of living continues to rise.  

Millions of households could be saving nearly £150 a year by switching to a 'social tariff' for their household broadband, but only 55,000 households have signed up so far, says Ofcom © Provided by Daily Mail Millions of households could be saving nearly £150 a year by switching to a 'social tariff' for their household broadband, but only 55,000 households have signed up so far, says Ofcom

More than 1million households are reportedly struggling to afford their home broadband, according to new research by Ofcom.    

Affordability problems are also expected to worsen in 2022 as rising energy bills and cuts to Universal Credit put further pressure on those who can least afford it.

Only a handful of broadband providers offer at least one specially discounted deal, as the regulator suggests more needs to be done to make people aware of their money-saving options.

The discounted packages are priced at under £20 a month meaning that households on Universal Credit could be saving an additional £144 a year. 

Despite the savings, Ofcom's research shows that 84 per cent of benefits recipients are unaware of social tariffs and take-up is extremely low. 


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Hollie Croft, broadband expert at Broadband Finder, says: 'Hearing that just 55,000 families of the 4.2million eligible for a social broadband tariffs have signed up, highlights just how much work needs to be done to inform vulnerable households of the support currently available.

'Broadband providers must do more to help any customers that are struggling to make ends meet and notify them about all the support available to reduce their monthly outgoings.

'This is even more important given the cost-of-living crisis many will be experiencing, and with a looming national household bills price hike likely to be well over a thousand pounds per family.

'If you are a Universal Credit recipient and are looking to reduce your monthly outgoings, speak to your broadband provider today and find out if they offer a social tariff you are eligible for.'

What 'social tariffs' are available to me?

There are a handful of broadband providers offering 'social tariffs' to those on a low income or Universal Credit. 

BT Home Essentials offers a £15 a month deal for speeds of 36Mbps, or a speedier version of 67Mbps for £20 a month. 

Hyperoptic are giving customers some of the fastest speeds of 50Mbps on its Fair Fibre 50 deal for £15 per month or you can upgrade to 150Mbps for £25 a month.

TalkTalk is the only provider currently offering free broadband for customers in need and eligible consumers will receive speeds of up to 40Mbps. 

Community Fibre is also available for £10 a month but will only come with speeds of 10 Mbps, and is only available for customers in London. 

You should check with each broadband supplier separately to check your eligibility first as some differ depending on what benefits they currently receive. 

For those looking to cut the cost of their household broadband, price comparison sites can offer customers the chance to benefit cheaper deals.

ELIGIBILITY FOR BROADBAND 'SOCIAL TARIFFS'
Product  Cost Speed Eligibility 
BT Home Essentials£15 a month Around 36 Mbit/s  Universal Credit (all claimants), Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit), Employment and Support Allowance (Eligibility rules apply), Jobseekers Allowance (Eligibility rules apply), Income Support
BT Home Essentials 2 £20 a month Around 67 Mbit/s Universal Credit (all claimants), Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit), Employment and Support Allowance (Eligibility rules apply), Jobseekers Allowance (Eligibility rules apply), Income Support 
Community Fibre £10 a month Up to 10 Mbit/s Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Care Leavers support, Personal Independence Payment. London-based. 
G.Network Essential Fibre Broadband £15 a month Up to 50 Mbit/s Universal Credit, Income Support, Pension Credit (guarantee credit), Income-related Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) 
Hyperoptic Fair Fibre 50 £15 a month Up to 50 Mbit/s Income Support, Pension Credit, Income-related Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Housing Benefit, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Universal Credit, Care Leavers support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance. 
Hyperoptic Fair Fibre 150 £25 a month150 Mbps Income Support, Pension Credit, Income-related Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Housing Benefit, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Universal Credit, Care Leavers support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
KCOM Full Fibre Flex £19.99 a month Up to 30 Mbit/s Income Support, Pension Credit, Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Universal Credit, with zero earnings, Care Home residents, Care Leavers, Employment and Support Allowance,
Virgin Media Essential Broadband £15 a month Around 15 Mbit/s Available to households on Universal Credit.
TalkTalk Broadband for Jobseekers Free Up to 40Mbps Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to offer six months of contract-free broadband to jobseekers across the UK.
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