Millions in perks overpaying £250 a year on broadband – are you eligible for little-known cheap deals?

MILLIONS of people on benefits are paying an average of £250 a year for their broadband, a consumer group has claimed.

Low-income people, such as those on Universal Credit, can benefit from special social rates, which could save them hundreds of pounds compared to more expensive offers.

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Several companies offer cheap deals to people on benefits, but it seems very few know about them.

It would seem, however, that these cheap offers are not widely known, according to consumer champion Which? conducted his own research.

Who? checked the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts of seven broadband providers throughout May, but found that only one provider had mentioned social tariffs in posts during this period.

He said his own research found that customers eligible for social rates could save an average of £250 a year by switching to the cheapest social rate.

A number of broadband operators are offering social rate cuts, but regulator Ofcom has previously noted that most people eligible for such offers have not signed up.

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In February, he said only 55,000 of an estimated 4.2 million eligible households had signed up for the discounted offers.

The regulator called on providers to do more to promote social tariffs, make information about them clearer and ensure the sign-up process is as easy as possible.

“It is unacceptable that broadband providers are not doing more to inform customers of social tariffs – meaning millions of households who may be struggling to make ends meet could lose hundreds of pounds of savings”, Which one? director of policy and advocacy, Rocio Concha, said.

“During a cost of living crisis, broadband providers must support the most financially vulnerable by clearly promoting discounted offers and making it easier for eligible customers to switch to social tariffs.”

It comes after Virgin Media increased customer bills by an average of £56, while Sky customers saw their bills rise by £43.

What cheap broadband deals are available?

BT

BT launched a Home Essentials rate last summer costing £15 a month for broadband and phone to help recipients.

It offers eligible customers average download speeds of 36Mbps and 700 minutes of calls, saving £240 a year compared to an equivalent plan.

Sky

Sky is offering a £20-a-month deal called Sky Broadband Basics and will be aimed at existing Sky customers who have Universal Credit or Pension Credit.

The new tariff will offer 36Mbs broadband for 18 months, and it usually costs £25 a month – so you can save £90 over this period.

If you need to cancel the contract at any time, you will not be charged a departure fee.

The same offer is available if you have Now TV, which is part of Sky.

Usually broadband costs £25 a month, so you can save £5 a month, or £60 over a year if you have Universal Credit or Pension Credit.

Usually broadband costs £25 a month, so you can save £5 a month, or £60 over a year if you have Universal Credit or Pension Credit.

Now TV’s broadband offer is paid monthly and you’ll need to give at least 31 days’ notice if you want to leave, but there’s no termination fee.

For both tariffs, you will have to prove that you benefit from these advantages.

Vodafone

Vodafone expanded eligibility for its social tariff for Voxi customers in April this year.

Voxi, part of Vodafone, is offering its half a million customers unlimited 5G data, calls and texts for £10 a month for up to six months if they get certain benefits.

You typically pay £35 for these Sim-only services at full price, meaning you could save £25 a month – or £150 over the full six months.

Anyone on the Voxi for Now pricing will not need to sign up for a contract, and they can suspend or cancel the plan at any time.

There is also no credit check and you will need to prove you have benefits when signing up.

Blank media

Virgin Media offers a broadband-only plan with average speeds of 15Mbps for £15 a month.

It promises no price increases as long as customers remain eligible.

Eligibility criteria are stricter and customers must be the designated Universal Credit recipient – no other benefits are mentioned.

Community fiber

Community Fiber is another discounted plan on the market for £10 a month, but will only offer 10Mbps speed.

It is also only available for London customers.

The package comes with a one-year contract, but after one year customers can choose to continue with the service at the same price, switch to a standard rate, or cancel the service.

G.Network

London-based G.Network offers a full fiber optic broadband rate for low-income households in the city.

For £15 a month, customers will get 50Mbps download speed and 15Mbps upload on a one-year contract.

Hyperoptic

Hyperoptic launched its social rate last year offering discounted rates on its 50Mbps and 150Mbps monthly plans.

Its 50Mbps broadband-only service costs £15 a month, up from £22. It will cost eligible customers £18 per month to include phone service in the package, which was originally £25.

There will be no setup fees and the package will come with a free router.

KCOMComment

KCOM’s Full Fiber Flex costs £19.99 per month and comes with a download speed of 30Mbps.

It also includes 20 local calls and 60 minutes of calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers.

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For those not eligible for social tariffs, we explain a simple check that could save you €200 per year on your internet bills.

Plus, here’s how you can upgrade to mid-contract broadband at no cost as a provider.

People with low incomes, such as those on universal credit, can benefit from special social tariffs

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People with low incomes, such as those on universal credit, can benefit from special social tariffsCredit: Alamy

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