Skip to main content

This Is How Millions of Brits Could Benefit From Social Tariffs for Broadband Internet

3 minute read

By Editorial Staff

It’s no secret that broadband, phone, and mobile services can be expensive. In fact, nearly 6 million UK households struggle to pay their telecoms bills.1 But did you know that many providers offer social tariffs, which can significantly reduce the cost for qualifying individuals?

Even if you don’t qualify for social tariffs, you might be able to save by switching to a cheaper broadband plan. For instance, some providers offer deals like three months free and a £0 setup fee.2 Let’s take a closer look at social tariffs and explore some of the providers to consider.

What Are Social Tariffs and Who Qualifies?

Social tariffs are special rates providers offer that allow low-income households to pay less for broadband, phone, and mobile services. Several internet service providers (ISPs) offer social tariffs, but it’s estimated that only 1.2% of those who qualify are using one of the plans.3 So, you could be leaving savings on the table.


Typically, people need to receive social benefits like Universal Credit or Pension Credit to qualify for a social tariff. The amount you can save varies from provider to provider. However, many offer significant savings to ensure low-income households can access essential telecom services. Shop around to research your options.

BT Home Essentials

If you’re looking for a low-cost broadband and phone plan, then have BT Home Essentials on your radar. It offers average speeds of up to 67Mb starting at £15 per month. Alternatively, customers can opt for a £10 call-only plan.

Both new and existing BT customers can apply for BT Home Essentials. The company can check your eligibility quickly online. That said, you’ll need to be receiving one of these benefits to qualify:


KCOM Flex is another broadband and phone plan for those who receive specific social benefits. It’s available to qualifying individuals in Hull and East Yorkshire for £15 per month. If you just need a call-only plan, then that’s offered for £5.10 per month.

Applicants need to receive at least one of these social benefits in order to qualify:

Vodafone Essentials Broadband

Vodafone Essentials Broadband is among the cheapest social tariffs in the UK. It offers broadband speeds of 38Mb for only £12 per month for those who qualify. There are no setup costs or early termination fees, so it’s a flexible option. However, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t include a phone line.

If you think Vodafone Essentials Broadband could be a good fit, then you need to be receiving at least one of these benefits to qualify:

Virgin Media Essential Broadband

Virgin Media Essential Broadband is another broadband-only option to consider. The plan provides average broadband speeds of 15Mb. Since it’s available for just £12.50 per month, it’s one of the cheapest plans available.

However, its eligibility requirements are more limited than some options. To qualify, you need to receive Universal Credit — other social benefits don’t qualify. So, those receiving a different social benefit will want to look into other service plans.

If you think Virgin Media Essential Broadband is a good fit, then take a screenshot of your online Universal Credit payments page. You’ll need that to prove your eligibility. Once approved, you can either use a self-install kit or have an engineer help you.

Explore Your Options

Broadband, phone, and mobile services are essential in today’s world. Unfortunately, they can be expensive — especially for low-income households. Fortunately, many providers offer social tariffs that reduce the cost of these services for qualifying individuals. As a matter of fact, research has found the average eligible customer could save £250 a year on their services with a social tariff.4

If you receive social benefits like Universal Credit, then look around to see if you can get a better deal with a social tariff. Even if you don’t qualify for a social tariff, you may be able to save money by switching to a cheaper broadband plan. Popular providers like BT, KCOM, Vodafone, and Virgin Media offer a variety of plans. And those are just a few of the providers out there. So, it’s worth looking around.

Editorial Staff