Millions of UK homes finally get fast broadband at a much cheaper price

Vodafone has announced that it’s boosting its broadband offerings with the launch of a new social tariff and it could fix one of the biggest issues with these plans. The latest option, called Fibre 2 Essentials, costs just £20 per month and offers speeds in excess of 70Mbps which is easily fast enough to watch Netflix in 4K. This update means those claiming benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance and Universal Credit can now access better downloads without paying the usual high price.

Another bonus is that all eligible customers can join without a set-up fee, leave for free at any time and won’t receive in-contract price rises.

Social Tariffs aren’t anything new with almost all ISPs offering these discounted plans. However, they haven’t proven to be all that popular with just a fraction of those able to sign up actually doing so.

In fact, recent stats from Ofcom suggest that just 136,000 (3.2 percent) out of the 4.2 million households receiving Universal Credit are on a social tariff.

Martin Lewis explains money saving broadband tip

The biggest reason why people say they are not keen on these plans is due to the speeds that are included. Social tariffs are cheap but most only offer downloads at around 30Mbps which is well below the UK average of 70Mbps.

Hopefully this update from Vodafone may now force other providers to follow and offer a boost to their speeds.

Speaking about the update from Vodafone Rocio Concha, Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy, said: “We’re pleased that Vodafone has responded with this new faster offering following Which?’s campaigning in this area.

“Which? research has found worries about the speed of social tariffs can be a barrier to take up. A range of social tariff options ensures eligible consumers can choose the right connection for their household’s needs.

“Ofcom, Which? and others have repeatedly called on broadband providers to do more to promote these tariffs to eligible customers and they must ramp up these efforts. Firms should also let customers on any contract leave without exit fees when switching to a social tariff – especially if they do not offer discounted tariffs themselves.”

Here’s how all the plans compare

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

• Vodafone Fibre 2 Essentials • £20 – 70Mbps

• 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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