Telecoms regulator Ofcom finds about 4 million eligible households missing out on cut-rate social tariffs for broadband due to low awareness
Only 220,000 UK households have signed up for the social tariffs, which are offered to those receiving benefits such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support, Ofcom said.
That represents only 5.1 percent of the households receiving Universal Credit payments, the regulator pointed out.
The lower tariffs cost between £10 and £20 a month and Ofcom said eligible families could be saving £200 a year, roughly cutting their broadband bill in half.
Takeup of the offers has quadrupled since January of last year, but the majority of people are still missing out, largely because they are unaware the deals exist, Ofcom said.
The tariffs, which are offered by most major broadband providers, usually have shorter-term contracts and no early exit fees.
Of those eligible who knew about the tariffs most told Ofcom they had heard about them through social media or television.
Only 9 percent had heard about them from their provider.
Social tariffs are voluntary offers with no government funding, meaning firms have little incentive to promote them.
“With millions of households across the country struggling to make ends meet, it’s outrageous that some providers continue to conceal their social tariffs from customers,” said Which? director of policy and advocacy Rocio Concha.
Ofcom group director for network and communications Lindsey Fussell said providers could “do much more” to help customers find and access deals, “at a time when these savings could make a massive difference”.
“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,” Fussell said.