Staying connected: support with free SIM cards and paying for broadband

Find out how JRHT can support you with free SIM cards, superfast social tariffs that could save you up to £200 a year and free broadband for jobseekers.

Get online with a free SIM card

How will this help you?

Through Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT) and the National Databank, eligible residents will be able to receive free mobile data, calls and texts via a free SIM Card for 6 months. This will mean you can access the internet to use online services and stay connected with friends and family. To use these SIM cards residents will need access to a mobile phone handset. JRHT can help you to get a mobile phone if you need one.

When you have received a SIM card it is simple to activate by inserting it into a compatible phone. It is also possible to keep your current phone number, so you won’t lose all your contacts. You can do this by speaking to your current mobile phone provider.

Who is eligible and how to apply?

To receive data from the National Databank you must preferably meet their eligibility criteria. These are:

  • Be 18 years of age or older 
  • And be from a low income household 

You must also ideally match one or more of the following:

  • Have no access or insufficient access to the internet at home
  • Have no or insufficient access to the internet when not at home
  • Cannot afford your current phone contract or pay as you go

What is the National Databank?

The National Databank was set up by the Good Things Foundation to people who need internet connectivity. It provides FREE data to over 500,000 people across the UK supplied by O2, Vodafone and Three.

As a community partner, JRHT has SIM cards and data vouchers which can be used for mobile data, calls and texts for 6 months.

Social broadband tariffs

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. The tariffs are often cheaper than the standard rates offered by broadband providers.

How a social tariff can help you

  • It's available to those receiving benefits. If you or someone in your household claims Universal Credit or a similar benefit, you could switch to a social tariff. 
  • They are cheaper than a standard broadband package. Prices usually range between £10 to £20 per month depending on the provider.
  • Fast, unlimited broadband. Most tariffs offer superfast broadband so you can keep in touch with friends and family, stream HD films, and shop online. 
  • You will pay minimal set up costs. If there are any setup costs, the provider should tell you before you sign up.
  • Switching could cost nothing. Most providers that offer social tariffs allow you to switch to their tariff free of charge and at any time. If you are switching between providers there may be a cost to change over.
  • Prices are fixed and won't go up mid-contract. The price won’t change for the duration of the contract once you have signed.
  • You won’t be charged if you leave. There won’t be a fee to pay should you leave a tariff before the end of your contract.

Source – Ofcom

Who is eligible?

The criteria vary between broadband providers. We recommend speaking to the provider directly to ask if you’re eligible. Some providers will only offer a social tariff if you are in receipt of a means-tested state benefit or other types of benefits.

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 documents proving your eligibility.

How to switch

There are some key steps and things to keep in mind when switching. First you need to find out which broadband providers offer a social tariff. You can do this by:

  • Using broadband switching sites that have social tariffs (for example, Faster Broadband).
  • Visit a provider’s website and find their social tariffs page.
  • Get in touch with the provider directly via email or phone and ask if they offer social tariffs.

It is important to bear in mind that not all social tariffs show up on broadband switching sites or when searching for your postcode on a provider’s website.

After you have found the social tariff you want, you can then apply:

  • Most broadband providers have instant eligibility checks, making them easy to switch to.
  • If you're on a fixed contract and switch to your current provider's social tariff, you won't face a fee for leaving early.
  • If you switch to a new provider, you may need to pay a fee to end your current fixed contract.

You can read further guidance from Which? on how to switch to a social tariff.

Free broadband for jobseekers

If you're an active jobseeker, TalkTalk are offering a no-contract voucher for 6 months of their Fibre35 broadband. Fibre35 broadband gives you unlimited data and has an average download speed of 38Mb. After 6 months, you can choose to roll onto a contract with TalkTalk or cancel with no extra costs or sign-up fees.

How to apply for free broadband

The scheme is a partnership between TalkTalk and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and 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.

Contact us

If you would like to apply for a free SIM contact Connor Lambert, Digital Inclusion Officer: Or contact the Customer Access Team on 0800 5870211.

If you would like support to switch to a social broadband provider or tariff, please contact the Money and Benefits Advice service at or on 0800 5870211.

The advisers cannot recommend a particular provider or tariff, but they can assist you to carry out a switch. The advisers can also provide wider support with other money and benefits queries.