According to Ofcom, millions of people are eligible for cheaper broadband and mobile phone packages through social tariffs.
What is a social tariff?
A social tariff is where a product or service is offered to customers on low incomes for a reduced price. The UK government funds the social tariff so that it can be offered to eligible customers at a lower rate, and those customers who are eligible are then able to access those products or services that are deemed essential.
Social tariffs are currently being considered for low income people and families to help them with energy bills; to prevent those on lower incomes being unable to use gas or electricity. Although it is unclear whether this social tariff will be introduced by the government, there are social tariffs available for water, through the WaterSure scheme, as well as landline mobile and broadband social tariffs.
These mobile and broadband social tariffs are available through the vast majority of providers, and allow those on low incomes to stay connected to the internet and have access to a mobile in an affordable, sustainable way.
Low cost broadband and mobile
The UK government introduced social tariffs for broadband and mobile in 2022; however, despite millions of people being eligible for social tariffs, according to Ofcom, only around 5% of households are accessing the offers.
As well as being cheaper than some of the social tariffs have a wide range of benefits for customers; setup costs are often much lower than regular broadband deals, the price is fixed throughout the contract, and unlike many broadband and mobile deals, there isn’t a cost to leave the tariff before the end of your contract.
The speed of the broadband depends on the provider offering the social tariff; however, the vast majority offer average speeds of 30 Mbps. This speed should be sufficient to stream videos in HD. For those worried that the broadband speed won’t be sufficient to support their needs, some providers offer social tariffs with 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps.
Am I eligible for a social tariff?
To choose from the range of social tariffs available, you need to be receiving Universal Credit. The major providers also offer social tariffs to people on Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support.
Those who are interested in switching to a social tariff should contact their mobile or broadband provider, and ask whether there is a social tariff available. It’s usually possible to switch to your provider’s social tariff without incurring any additional costs from them, even if you’re midway through your contract.
It’s also important to note that social tariffs do not appear on price comparison websites; to access them, customers need to go directly to the provider themselves.
You can check the full range of social tariffs available for both mobile and broadband on Ofcom’s website. Make sure that you check where the social tariff is available, as some of the providers offer specific social tariffs for certain areas of the United Kingdom.
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