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One Million Lose Broadband Access As Cost-Of-Living Crisis Bites, But There May be A Way Forward..


Up to one million people cancelled their broadband service in the last year because of the high cost of living. Could a social tariff be their answer?

A Social Broadband Tariff Could Save Households £200 A Year On Their Internet Charges!



As many as one million people cut off their broadband in the last year as the cost-of-living crisis left them unable to afford internet access, according to new research from Citizens Advice.

People receiving Universal Credit were badly affected. The research found them to be six times more likely to have stopped spending on broadband in the last 12 months amidst rising bills compared to non-claimants.

The charity fears this problem could get worse. Where people claiming Universal Credit are still paying for broadband, they are more than four times more likely to be behind on broadband bills than those who aren’t.

Citizens Advice says these are worrying signs that a service that is increasingly essential for day-to-day life is becoming out of reach for people.

People on Universal Credit are among the customers who should be eligible for discounted social tariffs to help them stay connected. However, as the uptake of these tariffs is currently just 5%, the charity claims these important discounts aren’t reaching those who need them.


Social tariffs are cheaper broadband and phone packages for people claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits. Some providers call them ‘essential’ or ‘basic’ broadband.


How a social tariff could help you

  • It's available to those on a variety of 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'll pay next to nothing to get set up. 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 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.

The latest figures from Ofcom show 95% of the 4.3 million eligible households are missing out on saving £200 on broadband costs each year. That is £824 million of support going unclaimed.


If you or someone in your household claims Universal Credit, you could switch to a social tariff. All major providers also include people on Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support.


Some providers might include additional benefits, like Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance.

The person receiving the benefit needs to be the main person on the contract.


The chart below shows what you could be paying if you swapped to a social tariff.

If you or someone in your household claims Universal Credit, you could switch to a social tariff. All major providers also include people on Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support.

Visit the Citizens Advice website for information on how to check if you’re eligible for broadband social tariffs, or take a look at Ofcom's website for the latest information.



Information was correct as of 13th May 2023

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