VIRGIN Media has slashed the price of its cheap home internet tariff for low income customers – here’s how to get it.
Households on benefits including Universal Credit are eligible for cheap deals called social broadband tariffs.
1Virgin Media has slashed the price of its basic social broadband tariff by 16%Credit: Alamy
A number of providers offer these deals, including Virgin Media, which has slashed the price on one of its packages.
Its Essential Broadband package, for those on Universal Credit and with speeds of 15 Megabits per second (Mbps), will drop to £12.50 a month from £15.
All new and existing customers are eligible for the new lower price.
The same customers will have access to a new package, Essential Broadband Plus, offering higher broadband speeds of 50Mbps for £20 a month.
Both plans have no fixed-term contract or activation fee.
For those who pick the Essential Broadband Plus package, they’ll be able to pay a one-off £20 fee to buy Stream as well, a video streaming platform.
Jeff Dodds, Virgin Media’s chief operating officer, said: “Connectivity remains an essential part of our lives, so we are boosting the support we provide to those who need it most in the cost-of-living crisis.”
It comes after Virgin Media confirmed earlier this year it was working on a system to put automated checks in place for customers to confirm their eligibility for social tariffs.
The company said this would mean it could offer its social tariff broadband schemes to those on pension credit for the first time.
See below for how prices compare and whether you’re eligible for a social tariff.
What are social broadband tariffs?
Social broadband tariffs are available to people on certain benefits, including Universal Credit – they can cut bills by hundreds of pounds a year.
But you’ll have to get in touch with your provider to go onto one. If your provider doesn’t offer one you can switch companies.
Today, new figures revealed by Ofcom show that the number of households on social broadband tariffs has risen from 55,000 to 136,000 since January.
It means millions are still missing out on the tariffs – which could cut bills by £230 a year.
In August, Sun Money called on the government, regulator Ofcom and suppliers to do more to support struggling customers.
We launched a tool with cost of living champions Nous to help highlight how much customers could save.
We also called on firms to make it easier for customers to switch to tariffs.
How you apply for one will vary depending on your provider as each one will have its own rules on eligibility.
Prices vary as well so it’s worth shopping around by using price comparison sites such as Moneysupermarket.com or Uswitch.
BT let you sign up online, while you have to call Sky and Now.
Virgin Media let you sign up for its £12.50 and £20 tariffs online, but you’ll need proof of receipt of Universal Credit.
BT has a social tariff for £15 a month while Now Broadband charges £20 a month on a rolling contract.
Sky’s offering is £20 a month, however the deal is for 18 months so you may need to pay an exit fee to get out of it earlier.
Exit fees are what you have to pay if you want to move across from a normal broadband tariff to a social tariff, so it’s worth seeing what yours would be if you switched.