Millions of people are entitled to half-price broadband – here’s how you can claim it
More than four million homes could be missing out on half-price broadband, Ofcom says.
Communications regulators have urged broadband providers to introduce their own “social tariffs” to help those affected.
As the cost of living increases, many cannot afford broadband prices, putting them at an additional disadvantage.
The current offer of 50% off broadband is available to the 4.2 million households currently claiming Universal Credit.
However, only 1.2% of those eligible actually took advantage of their discount.
As energy prices rise, so will the cost of broadband and Ofcom wants to encourage people to take advantage of this special discount.
Currently, only 55,000 people have taken advantage of their discounted internet, meaning millions of households are paying double the required amount.
There are currently a handful of providers offering a social tariff, offering their broadband for less than £20 a month, meaning those eligible could save a massive £144 on their internet every year.
The offer is available to everyone with Universal Credit. So if you’re currently making a claim, you should contact your ISP immediately to see if they have a social plan available.
Some offer different offers and rates depending on your circumstances, so those applying for unemployment benefits, housing benefits, pension credits, income support, and other forms of assistance should check what they are entitled to.
The following are some of the current broadband provider social plan offers that are available:
BT is currently offering a social tariff package for those receiving benefits and support, both on and off work.
Her BT Home Essentials The package includes around 67MB of speed for just £15 a month and is available to all Universal Credit and Pension Loan applicants.
It is also available to people claiming unemployment benefit (JSA), income support and employment assistance (ESA), although some eligibility requirements apply.
You also have the option of choosing a call-only plan for just £10 a month, with both offers available on a 12-month contract with no exit fees, so you can cancel at any time should your circumstances change.
Hyperoptic rolled out theirs Hyperoptic Fair Fiber plan enabling lower-income households to access their broadband at a discounted price.
You have two options available, a 50MB speed pack or a 150MB pack, so you can choose which one best suits your needs.
You also have the option to add a phone to both packages if required.
The 50MB deal is just £15 a month (or £18 with a phone), and the 150MB pack is £25 a month, or £28 for broadband and a phone.
Both packages include free installation, unlimited data, and a monthly rolling contract so you can change or cancel at any time.
Both offerings are available to a wide range of claimants including Universal Credit, JSA, ESA, Care Leavers Support and Housing Benefits and many more.
KCOM’s Full fiber flex offers customers rolling 30-day contracts for just £19.99 per month.
As part of the package, you get 30MB download speed, unlimited data, and 20 minutes of calls.
There’s also a £10 spending cap after you’ve used up your free minutes, so you’re not left with a hefty bill you weren’t prepared for.
You can also opt for the Flex Phone Only package, which costs just £5.10 a month for a phone line.
The Flex packages are available to individuals who are eligible for financial assistance including Care Leaver, ESA, JSA, Pension Credit, Universal Credit and more.
For those claiming Universal Credit, Virgin Media’s Essential broadband Package offers 15MB of speeds for just £15 a month.
The offer is available to existing Virgin Media customers and all you need to do is show that the account holder claims Universal Credit.
It’s also a flexible 30-day rolling contract, so you’re not bound by anything and can return to your usual broadband package should your circumstances change.
The essential fiber optic broadband from G.Network is available to anyone claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Income Support, JSA, ESA and Income Support.
Customers get 50MB download speed and 15MB upload speed, fiber optic cable instead of copper, and a WiFi router for just £15 a month.
The contract is for a fixed 12-month period, which is only offered to low-income London-based households.
If your provider doesn’t currently offer a social plan, or you’re trying to cut costs but can’t take advantage of any of the packages above, using a price comparison site can help you cut some costs and find a new great deal.
MoneySuperMarket usually displays monthly deals and special offers so you can grab a bargain when it comes to switching your broadband.
With all of the latest broadband prices in one place, it’s a lot easier to make a decision on which package is best for you.
If you’re not sure where to start, Confused.com has one too practical guide what to look for when it comes to finding the best deal, including your location and broadband needs.