Affordable Broadband and Phone Packages: Social Tariffs to Support Low-Income Customers
In an effort to support families and individuals facing financial difficulties, Ofcom has introduced social tariffs—affordable broadband and phone packages designed for those claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit, and other qualifying benefits.
These social tariffs offer cheaper broadband and phone packages to ensure that essential communication services remain accessible to all.
By exploring the available tariffs in the table below, checking eligibility, and following the application process, you can benefit from reduced pricing, reliable services, and improved affordability. Stay connected, stream, and communicate without worrying about excessive costs.
To be eligible for social tariffs, you or someone in your household must claim Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, or other qualifying benefits.
Major providers also consider additional benefits, such as Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance, when determining eligibility. It’s important to note that the person receiving the benefit must be the main person on the contract.
List of cheap broadband and phone social tariff packages
|Provider & Package||Price||Average speed||Where available*|
|4th Utility Social Tariff||£13.99 per month||30 Mbit/s||England|
|BT Home Essentials||£15 per month||Around 36 Mbit/s||UK|
|BT Home Essentials 2||£20 per month||Around 67 Mbit/s||UK|
|Community Fibre Essential||£12.50 per month||20 Mbit/s||England (London)|
|Connect Fibre Basic Essentials||£20 per month||50 Mbps||England (Cambridgeshire, Essex, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Derbyshire)|
|Country Connect Social Tariff||£15 per month||50 Mbit/s||Wales (Newport)|
|EE Basics||£12 per month||Up to 25 Mbit/s||UK|
|G.Network Essential Fibre Broadband||£15 per month||50 Mbit/s||England (London)|
|Grayshott Gigabit Connect||£19 per month||100 Mbit/s||England|
|Hey!Broadband Everyday Fibre||£17 per month||100 Mbps||England (South East England)|
|Hyperoptic Fair Fibre 50||£15 per month||50 Mbit/s||England, Scotland, Wales|
|Hyperoptic Fair Fibre 150||£20 per month||150 Mbit/s||England, Scotland, Wales|
|KCOM Full Fibre Flex||£14.99 per month||30 Mbit/s||England (Hull)|
|Lightning Fibre Social Tariff||£15 per month||50 Mbit/s||England (East Sussex and Kent)|
|Lothian Broadband Social Tariff||£19.99 per month||100 Mbit/s||Scotland (Lothian)|
|NOW Broadband Basics||£20 per month||36 Mbit/s||UK|
|RunFibre social tariff||£20 per month||100 Mbps||England (South Gloucestershire)|
|Shell Essentials Fast Broadband||£15 per month||11 Mbps||UK|
|Shell Essentials Fibre Broadband||£20 per month||38 Mbps||UK|
|Sky Broadband Basics||£20 per month||36 Mbit/s||UK|
|SMARTY Social Tariff||£12 per month||5G where available||UK|
|Truespeed Basic||£20 per month||30 Mbps||England (South West)|
|Virgin Media Essential Broadband||£12.50 per month||15 Mbit/s||UK|
|Virgin Media Essential Broadband Plus||£20 per month||54 Mbit/s||UK|
|Vodafone Essentials Broadband||£12 per month||38 Mbit/s||UK|
|VOXI For Now||£10 per month||5G where available||UK|
|Wildanet Helping Hand Social Tariff**||£20 per month||30-100 Mbit/s||England (Cornwall and Devon)|
|WightFibre Essential Broadband||£16.50 per month||100 Mbit/s||England (Isle of Wight)|
|YouFibre Social Tariff||£15 per month||50 Mbps||UK (various locations)|
* Check the Internet provider’s website to confirm coverage at your address.
How Social Tariffs Can Help You
Social tariffs are designed to assist individuals on low incomes by providing access to essential broadband and phone services at reduced prices. Here are the key benefits of social tariffs:
- Affordability. Social tariffs are priced lower than regular packages, with current prices ranging from £10 to £20 per month. This reduction in cost ensures that these vital services remain accessible to those who need them the most.
- Fast and Unlimited Broadband. Most social tariffs offer superfast broadband with speeds exceeding 30 Mbit/s. This allows you to stay connected with friends and family, stream high-definition films, and shop online without any compromises.
- Minimal Setup Costs. When signing up for a social tariff, you’ll typically pay minimal or no setup costs. If any charges apply, they should be small and clearly communicated by your provider before you commit.
- Switching Convenience. Switching to a social tariff is hassle-free and cost-free if your current provider offers this option. You can switch to a social tariff at any time, ensuring you can benefit from reduced pricing and improved affordability.
- Price Stability. With social tariffs, the price you agree to at the start of the contract remains fixed. You won’t experience unexpected price increases mid-contract, providing stability and predictability for your budget.
- Flexible Contract Terms. Exiting a social tariff before the end of your contract is possible without incurring any additional fees. This flexibility allows you to adapt your services to your changing needs without financial penalties.
How to Apply for Social Tariffs
Applying for social tariffs is straightforward. Follow these steps to explore your options and switch to a social tariff:
- Check with Your Current Provider. Start by checking if your current provider offers a social tariff. Review the above table provided by Ofcom, which lists the available tariffs.
- Online Application or Call. If your current provider offers a social tariff, you can apply online through their website or contact them via phone to request a switch. They will guide you through the process and provide further assistance.
- Consider Switching Providers. In case your current provider does not offer a social tariff, you have the option to switch to one that does. When switching providers, some companies may allow you to terminate your current contract without paying any penalty fees.
- Review Coverage and Speed. As you explore social tariff options, pay attention to the coverage and average speeds provided by each provider. While most providers cover a wide range of areas, it’s important to ensure that the services are available in your specific location.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I apply for a social tariff if I don’t receive Universal Credit or Pension Credit?
Social tariffs are also available to individuals receiving Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, and other qualifying benefits. Check with your provider for the complete list of eligible benefits.
Do I need to be the primary account holder to qualify for a social tariff?
Yes, the person receiving the benefit must be the main person on the contract to be eligible for a social tariff.
What if my current provider doesn’t offer a social tariff?
If your current provider doesn’t offer a social tariff, you have the option to switch to a provider that does. Some providers may waive penalty fees for terminating your existing contract.
Are social tariffs available nationwide?
While providers strive to cover as many premises as possible, coverage may vary depending on the provider and your location. Use Ofcom’s broadband coverage checker or visit the provider’s website for more information on coverage in your area.
Can I leave a social tariff before the end of my contract?
Yes, leaving a social tariff before the contract ends does not involve any additional fees. You have the freedom to switch or terminate the service if needed.