More than four million households on Universal Credit could benefit after BT confirms at-cost social tariff for fibre broadband
BT is launching a half-price tariff for fibre broadband connections for millions of British households on low incomes.
The former UK telecoms incumbent announced on Monday its ‘BT Home Essentials’ tariff that will launch in June. It is aimed at 4.6 million UK households on universal credit (and other legacy benefits), and will give them access to cheap at-cost fibre broadband and call packages.
It comes research from the price comparison website Uswitch found a ‘terminal’ decline in landline usage in the UK. It seems that while 80 percent of British homes have a landline, a quarter (26 percent) have not even bothered to connect a handset to their landline. And many only have a landline because it is necessary to obtain a fixed-line broadband connection.
BT Home Essentials
The launch of BT’s Home Essentials tariff comes after the carrier said that its research had revealed nearly a third of Brits feel more financially vulnerable since the start of the pandemic.
It also found a quarter of financially vulnerable people worry about being cut off if they can’t pay their bills.
Eligible customers will qualify for the BT Home Essentials package that will offer average download speeds of 36 Mbps and 700 mins of calls for £15 a month – saving customers £240 a year compared to an equivalent package
BT’s equivalent broadband package for those not on universal credit costs £32.99 a month.
There is a slightly more expensive BT Home Essentials package for those that qualify, with average speeds of 67 Mbps and unlimited calls for £20 per month.
“Available exclusively to those on Universal Credit and a range of other means-tested benefits, BT Home Essentials meets the demands of the modern home and provides futureproof fibre connectivity at a time when online resources have never been more important,” said the carrier. “BT research has found that three times as many people say they could not go without broadband (67 percent) versus public transport (20 percent).
“Fast, reliable connectivity has never been as important as it is today, with millions of people relying upon our networks to get back on their feet after the pandemic,” explained Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division.
“We want to help as many people as we can, which is why at the end of June we’ll be launching BT Home Essentials, increasing the eligibility of our social tariff to include all customers on Universal Credit,” said Allera. “BT Home Essentials will be available at half the price of our standard fibre package, helping a potential four million households on low income save on bills and stay connected to vital online services.”
BT’s move has been warmly welcomed by the government.
“In today’s digital world, everyone should be able to access fast, reliable and affordable internet, so I’m thrilled that BT is the latest provider to launch new deals for low income households,” said Digital Infrastructure Minister, Matt Warman.
“We have been working with internet providers to offer affordable broadband tariffs for those struggling with bills to help the UK build back fairer from the pandemic,” Warman added. “I hope to see others taking similar action soon.”
In March this year, the government announced the first stage of its £5 billion plan to get ultra-fast broadband, or fibre to the premise (FTTP), to remote British homes and locations.
BT confirmed it will “get on and build like fury” to deliver fibre to the premise (FTTP) to 20 million homes or businesses by the mid- to late-2020s.