Urgent alert issued to millions of Sky, BT and Virgin broadband users

Broadband users across the country are being urged to check whether they could save hundreds of pounds on their yearly bills by making a very simple switch. Latest research from telecoms regulator Ofcom suggests that just 5 percent of UK homes that are eligible for so-called “Social Tariffs” have actually signed up for them. These plans, which are available via all of the major Internet Service Providers (ISPs), offer cut-priced rates along with not asking users to sign up for long-term contracts.

Anyone claiming benefits such as Universal Credit can apply but it appears that only a small number have actually taken their ISP up on the offer of a discount.

Ofcom says it’s now concerned that broadband providers still aren’t being upfront with millions of customers about how to find and sign up for these packages.

In fact, of all eligible customers that are aware of social tariffs, most had heard about them through social media (26 percent) and television (21 percent). But only 9 percent found out about these reduced plans through their provider – highlighting how the industry needs to go further to promote their social tariffs effectively and make them easier to find.

The regulator is also now urging anyone on a government benefit to contact their provider today to lock in a cheaper deal.

Martin Lewis issues warning on broadband inflation

“Hundreds of thousands of customers are now benefitting from the huge savings that can be made from securing a social tariff. But millions are still missing out on superfast speeds for super low prices – with many not aware they even exist,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Group Director, Network and Communications.

“We’re urging anyone who thinks they could be eligible for a discount deal to contact their provider today and potentially save hundreds of pounds. Providers should also do much more to help these customers find and access these deals, at a time when these savings could make a massive difference.”

Prices for Social Tariffs start from as little as £12 per month which is a considerable saving over what ISPs usually charge for broadband access. Although the speeds are often capped at around 40Mbps (half the UK average speed) that’s still fast enough to stream Netflix in 4K, make video calls and browse the web.

If you think you are eligible then its worth giving your ISP a call to see what’s on offer.

Here’s how all the plans compare

• Vodafone social broadband tariff • £12 a month – 38Mbps speeds

• BT Home Essentials • £15 a month – 36Mbps speeds

• Virgin Media Essentials • £12.50 a month – 15Mbps speeds

• Sky Basics • £20 a month – 36Mbps speeds

• NOW Basics • £20 a month – 36Mbps speeds

• Hyperoptic Fair Fibre • £15 a month – 50Mbps speeds

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