Millions on benefits overpaying by £250 a year on broadband – are you eligible for little known cheap deals? | The Sun

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

People on low incomes, such as those getting Universal Credit, are able to get special social tariffs which could mean they can save hundreds of pounds against more expensive offers.

It would appear though that these cheap deals are not widely known about, after the consumer champion Which? carried out its own research.

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

It said its own research had found that customers who are eligible for social tariffs could save an average of £250 a year by switching to the cheapest social tariff.

A number of broadband operators offer social tariff discounts, but regulator Ofcom has previously noted that most people who are eligible for such deals had not signed up.

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In February, it said that only 55,000 out of an estimated 4.2million eligible households were signed up for the discounted deals.

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

"It is unacceptable that broadband providers aren't doing more to make customers aware of social tariffs – meaning millions of households who may be struggling to make ends meet could be missing out on hundreds of pounds of savings," Which? 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 deals and making it easy for eligible customers to switch over to social tariffs."

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It comes after Virgin Media raised customers bills by an average of £56 while Sky customers have seen bills go up by £43.

What cheap broadband deals are available?

BT

BT launched a tariff Home Essentials costing £15 a month for broadband and phone last summer to help those in receipt of benefits.

It provides eligible customers with average download speeds of 36 Mbps and 700 mins of calls – saving £240 a year compared to an equivalent package.

Sky

Sky is offering a £20 a month deal called Sky Broadband Basics and will be for existing Sky customers who are getting Universal Credit or Pension Credit.

The new tariff will offer 36M/bs broadband for 18 months, and usually that costs £25 a month – so you could save £90 over that time.

If you need to cancel the contract at any time, you won't be charged a fee for leaving.

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

Usually Now broadband costs £25 a month, so you could save £5 a month, or £60 over a year if you're on Universal Credit or Pension Credit.

Usually Now broadband costs £25 a month, so you could save £5 a month, or £60 over a year if you're on Universal Credit or Pension Credit.

Now TV's broadband deal is pay 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'll need to show that you are in receipt of these benefits.

Vodafone

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

Voxi, which is 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 are getting certain benefits.

You usually 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 getting the Voxi for Now Tariff won't need to sign up to a contract, and they can pause or cancel the plan at any time.

There's also no credit check and you'll need to show evidence of getting benefits when you signing up.

Virgin Media

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

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

The eligibility criteria is more stringent and customers need to be the named receipt of Universal Credit – no other benefits are mentioned.

Community Fibre

Community Fibre is another discounted package on the market for £10 a month but will only come with speeds of 10 Mbps.

It is also only available for customers in London. 

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

G.Network

London-based G.Network has a full fibre broadband tariff for the city's lower-income households.

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

Hyperoptic

Hyperoptic launched its social tariff last year offering discounted rates on its 50Mbps and 150Mbps monthly rolling packages.

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

There will be no charge for installation and the package will come with a free router.

KCOM

KCOM's Full Fibre Flex costs £19.99 a month and comes with a download speed of 30 Mbps.

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

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For not eligible for the social tariffs, we explain a simple check that could save £200 a year on your internet bills.

Plus, here's how you can switch broadband mid-contract with no fees as providers.


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