BT has introduced a broadband package exclusively for those on Universal Credit in a bid to make internet access more affordable.
The Home Essentials tariff will also be available for those on other means-tested benefits and will offer fibre broadband and calls for £15 a month.
The telecoms giant estimates this will save customers more than £2,000 a year compared to an equivalent package.
However, they are not the only provider offering cheaper deals to customer struggling financially.
BT is introducing a new broadband package for those on Universal Credit to help them save
Other networks have also added better value tariffs to their roster as the pandemic has left millions working and studying from home, relying on the internet more than ever.
This is Money takes a look at the options available for those on lower incomes or relying on benefits.
BT Home Essentials: The tariff offers average speeds up to 67Mb and is a 12 month contract with no early exit fees.
This includes those on the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, and Employment and Support Allowance.
It comes with unlimited broadband and, if you qualify, you’ll get Home Essentials for a year, even if you come off benefits.
Marc Allera, chief executive of BT’s consumer division, said: ‘BT Home Essentials will be available at half the price of our standard fibre package because fast, reliable connectivity to access vital online services – and keep in touch with loved ones – is more important than ever.’
BT also offers BT Basic which is a cheap phone line service which customers can also add on broadband to for a small fee.
It is for people on benefits or Universal Credit and costs £5.10 per month for line rental.
For that, you’ll get a call allowance of up to £1.50 every month.
To add broadband, it will cost only £9.95 in total per month, which includes the BT Basic line rental, with 15Gb of usage each month.
Millions are still working and studying from home during the pandemic so rely on the internet
Virgin Media Essential Broadband: This package was launched in November last year for those facing financial difficulty and receiving Universal Credit.
The broadband has an average speed of 15Mbps and a fixed price of £15 per month.
The plan has no fixed-term contract length and no price changes while Universal Credit payments are being received.
It operates on a 30 day rolling contract basis so customers are not tied in for a long period of time.
During the online application process, customers will be asked to provide proof of their Universal Credit status by providing a picture of their online Universal Credit account.
If a customer stops receiving Universal Credit they will be able to continue taking the Essential broadband service at £23 per month or move to another Virgin Media package.
Virgin said those in financial difficulty should contact the provider to discuss their options.
There are a number of packages available for low income households to help them connect
Hyperoptic Fair Fibre: Hyperoptic’s Fair Fibre Plan gives eligible customers £7 off its 50Mb tariff or £10 off its 150Mb monthly rolling packages each month.
For those on the 50Mb tariff, customers will pay £15 a month whilst those with 150Mb will pay £25 – both with free installation.
Those eligible include those on Income Support, Pension Credit, Income-related Job Seekers Allowance and Universal Credit.
It is also available for customers claiming Housing Benefits, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Care Leavers support and Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
Best broadband deals
This is Money, with the help of Uswitch, took a lot at some of the best broadband deals available for all customers.
One of the best value tariffs is TalkTalk’s Unlimited Fibre 65 and Unlimited Calls deal costing £25 per month.
Customers get average speeds of 67Mb on an 18 month contract and can also get a £90 voucher that can be redeemed at a number of stores including Amazon, Marks & Spencer and Tesco.
Plusnet are also offering a £65 reward card for customers joining its Unlimited Fibre Extra & Phone Line tariff.
The deal will cost £24.99 a month for 18 months with speeds of 66Mb.
Now Broadband is giving customers its Super Fibre & Anytime Calls offering for £24 a month for 12 months with average speeds of 63Mb.
Meanwhile, Vodafone is offering the same speeds at the same price but on a 24 month contract on its Super Fibre & Anytime Calls deal.
|Provider||Tariff||Additional features||Average speeds||Cost per month||Contract length||Expires soon?|
|TalkTalk||Unlimited Fibre 65 and Unlimited Calls||£90 voucher||67Mb||£25||18 months||7th July 11.59pm|
|Plusnet||Unlimited Fibre Extra & Phone Line||£65 reward card||66Mb||£24.99||18 months||14th July 11.59pm|
|Vodafone||Superfast 2||n/a||63Mb||£24||24 months||n/a|
|NOW Broadband||Super Fibre & Anytime Calls||n/a||63Mb||£24||12 months||n/a|
|Sky||Superfast Broadband||n/a||59Mb||£26||18 months||n/a|
|Source: Uswitch (prices correct as of 2 July 2021)|