It’s about to get a whole lot less complicated to take advantage of cheaper broadband. A new service, to be launched from tomorrow, will allow those claiming Universal Credit and other benefits to ask their internet service provider (ISP) to check if they qualify for cheaper deals. Virgin Media has already confirmed its commitment to the upgrade, meaning millions of people will be able to access the internet for as little as £15 a month.
Cheap deals for those with benefits are nothing new with most major ISPs, such as BT and Sky, already offering discounted broadband access.
However, until now it has been quite complicated for consumers to take advantage of it and this bureaucracy is clearly putting people off with only 1.8% of eligible people actually accepting the offers.
The new scheme, which was developed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), hopes to change all that.
Customers on these so-called social tariffs could, in some cases, save upwards of a hundred pounds a year, which is why it’s so vital for people to be eligible. The DWP also says the new system will simplify the process by removing the need for customers to prove their entitlement to broadband providers as regularly as monthly.
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“Social tariffs are vital for families struggling with bills, keeping them connected even in difficult times,” said digital secretary Nadine Dorries.
“Our discussion with broadband companies has led to the range of social tariffs in the market today and we have secured a series of new cost of living commitments from them to ensure that help is available. for all who need it.”
Currently, Virgin Media is one of the first to sign up for the new scheme, but hopefully Sky and BT won’t be far behind.
Speaking of his commitment to the new plan, Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2, said: “Connectivity is a lifeline that people cannot live without, and as one of the first providers to have introduces a social broadband tariff in 2020. , we are committed to making it as easy as possible to support our customers in the face of the cost of living crisis.
“We are working to implement the API as soon as possible to make it faster and easier to sign up for our social rate as part of an overall plan to increase awareness, availability and attractiveness of the Top Essential Flow”.
Here’s what you could pay if you’re eligible:
BT Home Essentials • £15 per month – 36 Mbps speeds
Blank Media Essentials • £15 per month – 15 Mbps speeds
Heaven’s Basics • £20 per month – 36 Mbps speeds
NOW Basics • £20 per month – 36 Mbps speeds
Hyperoptic Fair Fiber • £15 per month – 50Mbps speeds
The benefits for which the new DWP system will be able to verify entitlement are:
• Universal Credit
• Pension credit
• Income support
• Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
• Income-related employment support allowance
If you claim any of the above benefits, you should be able to lower your broadband bills much more easily in the weeks and months to come.