Low-Income Households in the UK Unaware of Bargain Broadband Deals

Low-Income Households in the UK Unaware of Bargain Broadband Deals

Low-Income Households in the UK Unaware of Bargain Broadband Deals

The Problem

A new report by communications regulator Ofcom has found that more than half of low-income households in the UK are not aware of bargain broadband deals. These deals, called social tariffs, are low-cost broadband packages offered to customers on benefits and cost between £10 and £20 a month. Ofcom is concerned that people are not getting the right advice when it comes to switching to a social tariff, and millions of families could save around £200 a year by switching.

What Are Social Tariffs?

Social tariffs are reduced-cost broadband deals offered to UK households receiving government benefits such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Jobseekers Allowance, and Income Support. Current providers include BT, EE, SMARTY, Community Fibre, NOW, Sky, Virgin Media, KCOM, Hyperoptic, G Network, and VOXI. These deals are usually on shorter-term contracts and have no early exit fees, so people are not tied to the contract if their circumstances change, and they can leave without paying a penalty.

The Solution

Ofcom is urging TalkTalk and O2 to introduce social tariffs in the broadband and mobile markets respectively. Around 4.3 million UK households could be getting cheaper broadband, but only around 220,000 people - or 5% of households - are currently signed up for the offer, according to Ofcom. Consumer groups are urging customers to act now and look at the packages available - especially given the cost of living crisis.

Awareness Drive

Ofcom says more than half of eligible households continue to be unaware of social tariffs and that more needs to be done to encourage people to get the support. The watchdog is concerned that broadband providers are still not being upfront with millions of customers about how to find and sign up for these packages. Of eligible customers that are aware of social tariffs, most had heard about them through social media and television. But just 9% found out about social tariffs through their provider. Ofcom says that highlights how the industry needs to go further to promote their social tariffs effectively and make them easier to find.

Take Action

If you think you could be eligible for a discount deal, contact your provider today and potentially save hundreds of pounds. Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's director of network and communication, said she believed broadband providers should go further, at a time when these savings could make a massive difference.

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