The BBC has reported that only one in twenty claimants who are eligible for social tariff broadband have actually signed up, with 4.3 million potentially eligible people apparently missing out. We’d like to hear about your experience if you’ve signed up for social tariff broadband or what made you decide against it.

Claimants on a range of benefits are eligible for social tariff broadband deals.

All the major suppliers offer a cheaper deal if you are on Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support.

Some also extend their offer to PIP claimants.

Prices range from £10 to £20 a month with speeds from 15 to 100 Mbits, depending on the supplier.

The Ofcom website has a full list of suppliers and prices, with links to their individual terms and conditions.

Citizens Advice estimates that one million people have cancelled their broadband in the last year because of the cost of living, with UC claimants 12 times more likely to have done so than non-claimants.

Yet social tariff deals are not proving popular and Citizens Advice wants Ofcom to "hold firms' feet to the fire" to improve their take-up.

But is it just lack of awareness of these schemes that is holding people back? Or is it that mobile phones are a necessity while home broadband is an unaffordable luxury for many claimants, no matter how cheap the deal?

Please let us know your opinion of the scheme in the comments section.

You can read the full story on the BBC website.

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    Frank · 10 months ago
    Does this reduce your broadband speeds.??
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      Beverley · 10 months ago
      @Frank They told me it definitely would reduce my speed 
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      Jayne · 10 months ago
      @Frank Generally around 38mps for social tariffs. Gives you bare minimum.  Designed for those that need to access the net for things but not high usage households. 
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    Carl · 10 months ago
    The problem a lot of people could be that like me they are in a contract which would cost quite a bit of money to get out of.
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      Wee jinty · 10 months ago
      @Carl Bt did not charge me anything I was halfway through my contract .I had fibre optic and free unlimited calls even if I phone other mobile nothing changes from £55.  00 to £20.50 pension credit gaurantee I’m glad thee man asked me was I on benefits I couldn’t fault bt I’m in glasgow had my new tariff up and running by next payment kept same tariff couldn’t have been easier
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      Wisp · 10 months ago
      @Carl Good morning, are you sure about that. 16 months ago I enquired with my provider and they didn't charge me anything to go to a BT social tariff. 
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    Maria Nelson · 10 months ago
    I’m semi rural. There’s a copper wire bend in my wall and I can’t download I was being ripped off of £27. And ill with meltdowns with shell the engineers wouldn’t fix it. And the Onbudsmen used my autism to side with shell. I also don't have a Tv licence and only watch prime which is cheaper than a licence, and I use a lot of data as the internet is how I communicate and pass my time. And I tried 3 mobile and whilst it was cheap , my phone and my even my gps phone were cutting out and dropping calls every 2 weeks. Then there was times my net was rubbish and buffering. I then went to Vodaphone. Their phone service was good but if I took their phone and net deal it was online only. And I tried their normal package and the staff in the Indian call centre gave rubbish instructions didn’t give correct advice showing the dongle connected to the laptop..( not plugged in to the wall and charger) so I did that. I had weird issues re laptop not connecting and there was too many codes n passwords and I was confused and they weren’t explaining it and were asking for info they hadn't even give me yet. I did the trial and told them to shove it. I kept the phone and unlimited mobile data but ( it’s not really unlimited) so I pay £20 for that and switched to EE/BT same dongle. But their customers service was brilliant and he even gave good advice re buying my own dongle to save money and gave me 6 months half price. So that’s £14 but will be £28. Unfortunately just after I signed up virgin media have been laying proper fibre in my area. Plus there’s rows about 5g being put in the next village. I had signed up to 2 years and think the phone is a year n a half. So I’m technically paying £48 a month but I do have proper unlimited. I’ve been told there’s a bungalow in the next village ( yesterday)but idk if it’s going to be suitable and. Have to wait for them to fix it up to view it. There’s a slightly better bus service there. So if that does work out when my contract runs out I might take the BT and EE. Package deal. I also get support off housing plus re social isolation and there’s support if I need help from a worker. And if the bus is decent I will do the course the autism lady recommended on advocacy. And I May do a sociology degree and I want to set up a charity or support re adult diagnosed autistics and with space for woman’s cos there’s nothing for us and people aren't trained in us. I have done and passed the level 2&3 on mh awareness off my own back. Might do the autism ones too. I’m an ex combat medic and auxiliary nurse. But I have spinal and oa issues and other stuff. So maybe I can get a job half homework and half office. I can’t sit too long as I get compression in my spine then spasm.  
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    Rod · 10 months ago
    I signed up for a Social Tariff last year and not only was it simple (with BT) but I had the unexpected bonus of 700 minutes free l/line telephone minutes per month. That's useful when trying to contact organisations which not only have long 'wait' times to answer calls but then take one through multiple options to access the appropriate extension.
    Download and Upload speeds are steady and reliable - fast enough, for example, to use a 'Firestick' without much 'buffering'. 
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      Wisp · 10 months ago
      @Rod My experience with BT too. I use a Roku without issue.
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    Martin Clark · 10 months ago
    I live in a village that time has long forgot, there is no gas, street lighting and no cable so we are stuck with sky when I have mentioned to sky that I receive PIP and U.C. they pushed my monthly broadband cost even higher I am currently paying £80 pm as a pensioner. When I said I'm going to someone else for my provider they laughed in my face and said "who" !!! 
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      Wisp · 10 months ago
      @Martin Clark Surely you have a telephone line - ask BT about Digital for Internet.  They did mine in a jiffy.
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    Mary Wilson · 10 months ago
    I’m with Vodaphone and they have made it impossible for me to move to this tarriff from my old one by not replying to my online application and refusing to discuss it while on the phone to me. I ve decided to move to BT who processed my application quickly. 
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      Elizabeth · 10 months ago
      @Mary Wilson Same here, kept applying until they did it. It was worth the effort to bring my bills down to £13 a month!
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      blueisgreen · 10 months ago
      @Jeff How have you found the service with Vodaphone broadband other than the difficulty in signing up to it as they are the only social tariff I can in practice get as these social tariff ignore most of the legacy benefits and PIP? 
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      Jeff · 10 months ago
      @Mary Wilson I had a similar experience. I applied to the online application on 5 separate occasions and  finally accepted for social tariff after threatening to contact Ofcom.
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    Grumpy Grey · 10 months ago
    Even within internal BT it's treated with a stigma as a substandard service, that's a nuisance to set up, notwithstanding the ambiguity over fair usage.
    It was referred to in the Cardiff Office of BT as 'Bindipper Broadband' rather than 'BT Basic' which it disgusting. 
    Having a disability shouldn't involve being offered a lesser service. Most of these offerings are poor, they've improved recently to speeds of either 36 or 67Mb but there's no earthly reason there couldn't be a 67Mb (which is the up to 80 service) ADSL service at the lower price for those still stuck on copper lines and a 155Mb FTTP service at the same price for people in FTTP only areas.
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    dmwors · 10 months ago
    Plusnet contract due to end which has just risen to £30.01. I phoned plusnet and asked them to transfer me to their sister company BT so I could take up the £20 fibre social tarriff. They then offered me to stay on the product I’m on which is fast fibre for £21.50 for 24 months. I’ve added in 14% price rises each year so could increase to £23 / £26 which is still less than I’m paying now xx
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    Ter Minator · 10 months ago
    I think that some of those who don't claim the social tariff BB are those that get jobs for a few months then become unemployed. It could mean that the person has to apply for the social tariff every time they find themselves out of work. 
    No supplier is going to let a person stay on a social tariff whilst they are working for a few months. 
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      Wisp · 10 months ago
      @Ter Minator I belive once you qualify with (BT) you ate only reassessed after 1 year. Do check it out.
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    Indie · 10 months ago
    I would love broadband but we have no openreach broadband network in our village.
    Trooli has full fibre broadband but do not offer a social tariff.
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    Palemazy · 10 months ago
    I didn't know about it as I generally avoid all news, however I will look to join now, thank you
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    John · 10 months ago
    The lack of a full package is the reason. If you're elderly and disabled the TV and computer are a lifeline what's the use of having broadband only if you haven't got a cheap TV package to go with it.
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      Wisp · 10 months ago
      @John A Roku or other "stick" is a one off cost that could be substituted for a tv package. Works for me.
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    Fionn · 10 months ago
    The reason I haven't switched is that I want to remain with Virgin (I sometimes subscribe to a paid channel for a limited period), and they don't offer a social tariff to ESA claimants, it's only available to those on UC. I've no idea why they seem to have taken against disabled claimants, but if the policy changed, I would try it.
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      Dippy2 · 10 months ago
      @Fionn Hi l have been with virgin media for 4 years and have found that you need to call them several times and be firm to sort anything out I have fast broadband tv landline and when they put my bill up to £72 decided game on got quite from other company like for like present package with social discount (but with £89 setup/equip charges to set up)
      Then called virgin got the you can’t change mid contract cost £277 to move supplier no joy
      Call 2 got the run around with Indian call centre trying to say same mid contract fee no amount said so I replied please put through to termination he cut me off
      Call three requested termination dept got same  rubbish but insisted and got through to termination to Elinor who was polite got my bill from £72 to £45 for next 18 months for same package but lost 2 HD channels so persevere and a tip call the 800 number got hard of hearing instead of the 033 number for them to pay for call if you don’t have landline with virgin oh and going to recall about social discount next as on ESA support group income based as not included good luck to all persistence beats resistance 
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      Liz · 10 months ago
      @Fionn This was on the Money Saving Expert site in March: 

      Previously, only those getting universal credit could take out Virgin's 'Essential broadband' plans.

      But from today (Wednesday 1 March), you can sign up if you get any of the following:

      Income-based employment support allowance (ESA)
      Income-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA)
      Income support
      Pension credit
      Universal credit
      Both new and existing customers are eligible.

      I claim Pension Credit and have been on the Essentials package for a few months and find it perfectly adequate for my needs.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Liz · 10 months ago
      @Fionn Hi, Their website claims that ESA is eligible (https://www.virginmedia.com/broadband/low-income-families). Maybe worth trying again? I haven't gone for it becuase there's no landline with the package and separate landline bumps the cost up enough it's not worth it.
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      Wisp · 10 months ago
      @Fionn Have you looked up a Roku or other "stick" as a substitute for paid for subscriptions ?
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    Yella · 10 months ago
    I live in the sticks, there are limited providers. I was with BT who wanted to increase my cost to £38.99 pm. I swapped to Home Essential Fibre 2 which is74Mbps, guaranteed 34Mbps and £20pm. There is no discernable diffence for me apart from the bill. Other broadband tariffs have had big uplifts in price because of inflation. The Social Tariffs haven’t changed. 
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    Jahmima · 10 months ago
    For me it’s because I’m locked into a contract which was only renewed shortly before I discovered there was a lower rate for people on benefits. It’s something I would look in further to and consider nearing the end of my term. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Dippy2 · 10 months ago
      @Jahmima Hi Jahmima call them as you can do this anytime within contract as they should ask about disabilities go on call them ask for customer services do not be put off by first person who answers the phone
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      Wisp · 10 months ago
      @Jahmima Are you sure you are "locked" into your contract. Do ask them to change you to a social offering.
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      Emanie · 10 months ago
      @Jahmima I'd seriously consider making a complaint to your provider and pointing out that they should do the decent thing and put your contract onto the social tariff. They can only say no, and there is a 50% chance they will say yes. Good luck!
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    Wendy D · 10 months ago
    We swapped to the BT social tariff last year. We had to move away from BT broadband as it is less than useless where we live and didn't improve after they'd dug up half the garden. However, we had to go for the broadband and phone package as they don't offer any just phone packages. So basically BT are getting money for nothing, plus they don't make it easy to swap and they are not forthcoming about the tariff unless you push.
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    David · 10 months ago
    I’m on a contract with ‘3’ for my internet, I’d have to pay the remaining months to leave early and they don’t offer social contracts 
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      blueisgreen · 10 months ago
      @David If you can get a decent signal & speed on 3 then it maybe worth keeping an eye on smarty (as it probably cheap to stay than to leave early) a virtual mobile phone network that I believe is actually owned by 3 and uses the same network https://smarty.co.uk/social-tariff 



      An issue I can see though is its limited to 
      Then regular deals can sometimes be just as good as this especially if you get cashback and see if you can haggle with three at the end of your contract. 
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    Kiwi girl · 10 months ago
    I’m not eligible. Just because I’m still claiming tax credits and haven’t been moved to Universal Credit, I’m receiving PIP but I still get told I can’t have the social tariff. It’s blatant discrimination against those who are still on the tax credits system. 
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    CR.. · 10 months ago
    I understand some people want to sign up for social tariffs but are held back by contracts with existing companies they can't afford to leave.... Not sure they are eligible for no fees on exit... I went from EE to bt easily because they were linked & my old contract ended. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    June · 10 months ago
    It's that difficult to do. I have been trying for 2 days. And still not getting anywhere......
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Wisp · 10 months ago
      @June I wonder who with.
      BT is done online.
      Keep going, you'll get there.....
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