What are broadband social tariffs?
A social tariff is a discounted internet package offered by broadband providers and available for eligible low-income customers and those in receipt of benefits. These are often cheaper than the standard rates offered by broadband providers.
As not all broadband providers offer social tariffs, the first step will be to find out if your current provider offers one. Social tariffs do not show up on broadband switching sites or if you search for your postcode on a providers website, so you will need to find their dedicated webpage for social tariffs. In some cases, you'll need to get in touch with the provider via email or phone to enquire about a social tariff or sign up.
Who is eligible?
The specific requirements vary between broadband providers. We would recommend speaking to your provider directly and asking what their criteria are.
Some providers will only offer a social tariff if you are in receipt of a means-tested state benefit or other types of benefits and legacy equivalents.
These can be:
- Universal Credit
- Council Tax Support
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
Providers will ask you to share evidence of your eligibility in most cases. This can vary between providers but could be a photo or a scan of either a statement or your eligibility documents. It is important to bear in mind that the person in receipt of the benefits must be the one applying for the social tariff.
How a social tariff can help you
- It's available to those receiving benefits. If you or someone in your household claims Universal Credit, you could switch to any of the tariffs available.
- It's cheaper than a regular package. Current prices range from £10 to £20.
- Fast, unlimited broadband. Most tariffs offer superfast broadband at speeds over 30 Mbit/s – fast enough for you to keep in touch with friends and family, stream HD films or shop online.
- You will pay minimal set up costs. If you do have to pay any setup costs, these should only be small. Your provider should tell you before you sign up.
- It could cost nothing to switch. If your provider offers a social tariff, you can switch to it at any time, free of charge.
- The price is fixed and won't go up mid-contract. You won't pay any more than what you agree at the start of the contract.
- It costs nothing to leave. You won't pay a fee to leave the tariff before the end of your contract.
Source – Ofcom
How to switch
These days most broadband providers have instant eligibility checks, making them relatively easy to switch to. If you are on a fixed term contract and you want to move to your providers social tariff you won’t have to pay an exit fee as you would usually. As each broadband provider is different, we advise reaching out to them directly to find out how to switch.
Free broadband for jobseekers
If you're an active jobseeker, TalkTalk are offering a no-contract voucher for six months of their Fibre35 broadband. Fibre35 broadband gives you unlimited data and has an average download speed of 38Mb/s.
After six months, you can choose to roll onto a contract with TalkTalk or cancel with no extra costs or sign-up fees.
The scheme is a partnership between TalkTalk and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The DWP are responsible for determining eligibility.
To access the voucher, speak to your work coach or contact the relevant DWP helpline for the benefit you're claiming. If the DWP decide you're eligible, they'll give you a referral code. You can then call TalkTalk to redeem the code and get set up with free broadband.
You can read more about free broadband for jobseekers on TalkTalk's website.