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Broadband social tariff deals — how to get low income broadband on universal credit

Find out which providers offer broadband social tariffs for low income customers receiving Universal Credit or other government financial support.
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Social tariffs are available from several broadband providers, helping those on benefits access an internet connection at a much lower monthly price.

With the cost of living crisis and broadband price hikes driving up everyone's bills, Citizens Advice recently reported that up to one million people cancelled their broadband between May 2022-23. However, a huge number of these households could have actually taken up these much cheaper social tariff broadband deals.

So, if you're eligible for a social tariff, now is the perfect time to start paying less for your broadband.

Read on to learn which providers offer low-cost internet service and how you can check your eligibility for them.

What are social tariff broadband deals?

Social tariffs are a way to get broadband if you're receiving Universal Credit or another type of financial support. They're much cheaper than the standard monthly rate for the service and are reserved for these customers to help them afford the usual monthly price of a broadband connection.

They’re still usually the same speed and quality as other home broadband deals. The only difference is the monthly cost. Plus, they're not affected by annual mid-contract price hikes from providers either.

Uswitch recently found that two-thirds of financially vulnerable households are unaware that low-income broadband tariffs exist. That's a rough total of ten million homes that could save up to £234 a year, or nearly £20 per month, on a cheaper broadband contract*.

Read further down this page for our list of the latest broadband social tariffs.

Find fixed-price broadband from providers without mid-contract price rises.

What if I'm not eligible for a social tariff?

If you don't receive government financial support but still want to find a low-cost broadband deal, you can take a look at cheap broadband deals on Uswitch.

Find cheap broadband deals

Browse our selection of low-cost broadband deals if you want to save money on your next broadband service.

Broadband social tariff deals for people on Universal Credit

Some providers offer a much cheaper broadband deal to help low-income customers afford a strong, reliable internet connection.

Browse the following options to see which providers offer discounted broadband deals for families on low incomes.

Broadband social tariffs available in the UK

Read more about each deal below to find out if you’re eligible for your chosen deal.

BT social tariff deals

bt logo

BT offers a near-half-price fibre broadband deal that millions of low-income customers who receive government financial support can get.

BT Home Essentials

The BT Home Essentials 'No Income' plan offers part-fibre broadband speeds of 36Mbps but for a much cheaper monthly price of £15. The regular deal, BT Fibre Essential, usually costs around £28 per month.

If you’re looking for a low-income phone and internet service, the No Income plan also includes unlimited anytime calls to UK mobiles and most other landline numbers. This option is only available for financial support claimants who do not receive any employment income at all.

The same product is offered for those receiving paid employment income at £20 per month, but this does not come with an additional landline plan.

If you would like an even faster BT deal, you could upgrade to the BT Home Essentials 'Fibre 2' deal for £23 per month (usually around £35).

Am I eligible?

You can qualify for BT Home Essentials if you are on any of the following:

  • Universal Credit

  • Income Support

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance

  • Employment and Support Allowance

  • Pensions Credit

To qualify for the 'No Income' social tariff, you must also not receive income from paid employment alongside your financial support plan.

Sky Universal Credit broadband

sky logo

In April 2023, Sky launched its first social tariff for people who claim Universal Credit and Pension Credit.

The discounted broadband deal, called Sky Basics, plus its sister company NOW's package, NOW Basics, costs £20 per month for 36Mbps broadband speed. Both plans also come with pay-as-you-go landline calls.

36Mbps is enough to handle most of a family's internet demands, including streaming videos on a couple of screens while other family members scroll social media or listen to music. But at £20 per month, it's slightly more expensive than other social tariffs for similar internet speeds.

Am I eligible?

These social tariffs from Sky and NOW are only available to existing Sky and NOW customers, so you'll need to already be paying for a service from those providers in order to get your bill discounted.

To qualify for the discount, you must also claim Universal Credit or Pension Credit—the providers have not detailed any other criteria.

Virgin Media Essential social tariffs

Virgin Media broadband

Virgin Media offers two Essential broadband connections for customers facing financial difficulty or receiving Universal Credit. These connections do not have a fixed-term contract and do not change the monthly price while the customer continues to receive their Universal Credit payments.

For a monthly fee of £12.50, the Essential package supplies speeds of 15Mbps. With this speed, two people could stream HD video at once, and there would still likely be enough bandwidth for social media scrolling at the same time. However, it’s still half the average speed you normally get from fibre broadband.

If you're looking for a faster speed, Virgin also offers a 54Mbps Essential Plus package for £20 per month. The same conditions apply; a 30-day rolling contract and no mid-contract price rises. 54Mbps is a much more suitable speed for larger families where multiple people will be streaming, working or gaming at the same time.

You should also keep in mind that these are broadband-only connections, given that Virgin Media’s network doesn’t require a landline to work. So, if you also need a landline to make phone calls to family and friends, this package may not be the right choice.

Am I eligible?

To access Virgin Media Essential broadband, you must provide evidence that you are eligible for Universal Credit. After your application is submitted, you will receive more information on how to do this.

Learn more about Virgin Media Essential broadband on its own site.

Vodafone Essentials broadband

vodafone logo on a white background

One of the most recent providers to announce a social tariff is Vodafone.

With Vodafone Essentials 1 and 2, you get access to:

  • 38Mbps internet speeds for £12 per month, or

  • 73Mbps internet speeds for £20 per month

Plus, they come in shorter 12-month contracts, with no mid-contract price rises or early exit fees. So you get a lot of flexibility when deciding how long you need the connection.

The low-income deals are available to all existing and new customers, provided you are eligible for the service.

Am I eligible?

Vodafone says you need to be in receipt of "specific government benefits" to qualify for its Vodafone Essentials broadband social tariffs. The financial support schemes that qualify for this offer are:

  • Universal Credit​

  • Disability Allowance​

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance​

  • Personal Independence Payment​

  • Employment and Support Allowance​

To sign up for the deal, you first need to check you are eligible by completing a registration form. Vodafone will then run an eligibility check, and then call you if it succeeds to process your order. This should take about one week to happen.

Hyperoptic social broadband tariffs

hyperoptic logo

Hyperoptic offers two discounted broadband deals at differing speeds for low-income households.

Hyperoptic Fair Fibre 50

Hyperoptic offers eligible households an entry-level Fair Fibre Plan for just £15 per month. It comes with a 50Mbps broadband speed, which is plenty of bandwidth for a small household.

The contract is available on a monthly rolling basis, meaning you can cancel within 30 days if your financial situation changes. Installation is also free, and you can add a £3 per month landline service with free evening and weekend calls.

Hyperoptic Fair Fibre 150

This is the faster Fair Fibre option from Hyperoptic. You get all the same benefits as its Fair Fibre 50 plan, but instead, a much faster broadband speed of 150Mbps.

If you have a household of five or more internet users or have people living with you who use the internet for heavy downloads and high-quality streaming, this speed might be better for you. Fair Fibre 150 costs £ 25 monthly.

Am I eligible?

The Hyperoptic Fair Fibre Plan is available to individuals who use one of the following financial support schemes:

  • Universal Credit

  • Income-related Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance

  • Personal Independent Payment (PIP)

  • Housing Benefit

  • Pension Credit

Hyperoptic's broadband coverage is less widespread than BT or Virgin Media's. So you'll have to make sure have access to its full fibre network before you seek one of its Fair Fibre plans.

Community Fibre social tariffs

logo of uk full fibre broadband provider community fibre

Full fibre broadband provider Community Fibre is the latest brand to announce a social tariff for its customers. And unlike other providers, it doesn't have any eligibility criteria to meet if you want to sign up for it.

Community Fibre Essential

The Essential package from Community Fibre offers 35Mbps speeds for just £12.50 per month. It's one of the cheapest broadband deals on offer in this article, but it also offers the joint-slowest broadband speed.

35Mbps is decent for regular households who use the internet for standard things like TV streaming, working from home or online gaming. Larger households may struggle to get all they want done with this speed, but it should be fast enough for the majority of families.

Am I eligible?

Community Fibre won't ask you to prove that you're on any income support in order to get this deal, which essentially means that anyone can sign up.

The only thing you'll need to check is whether you can actually get this broadband package at your home. It's supplied by Community Fibre's full fibre network, which is currently primarily based around London and limited to a limited number of properties there.

If you're already a Community Fibre customer, this shouldn't be much of an issue. But if you're looking to choose this deal as a new customer, you'll have to make sure your property can access it.

Providers may verify you for social tariffs

Since August 2022, providers have started to confirm which customers are eligible for social tariffs, removing the need for customers to prove their own eligibility.

According to research, less than 2% of eligible customers were taking advantage of social tariffs, so this move is expected to help millions of people cut down on their bills.

Those who qualify for cheaper plans will still need to give their permission for their contract to be changed, but this means they will no longer have to seek the verification themselves.

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Can I get free broadband?

While the UK doesn't offer free broadband, Universal Credit receivers can qualify for heavily discounted broadband deals from a number of broadband providers.

In fact, TalkTalk recently announced a collaboration with Jobcentre Plus to offer six months of free broadband to eligible customers. If you're not eligible but still on Universal Credit, your best bet would be to choose a specific low-income broadband deal offered by a UK home broadband provider, such as BT or Virgin Media.

You can read more about those below and read more about TalkTalk's deal here.

So, even though there's no free internet for Universal Credit customers, you can make your broadband bill a lot easier to manage in many ways. Read on for a range of specific deals for low-income customers.

Free broadband installation for those on universal credit

In a recent statement, UK broadband network Openreach stated that it will install broadband for free to those households in the UK living on Universal Credit and with no other earnings.

Many major broadband providers, including BT, Sky, and TalkTalk, operate on Openreach, which means that they should be able to pass those savings on to new customers. This would save an estimated one million people up to £92 and help those who have had to struggle without internet access get connected.

A recent report from Ofcom revealed that some two million UK households struggle to afford internet services. And only 1% of those on out-of-work benefits had signed up for low-cost broadband tariffs offered to those on low incomes. Hopefully, the removal of an installation charge can help more households get online soon.

It’s worth noting, however, that broadband providers can choose how they pass on the savings to customers. This could be by removing upfront costs or lowering monthly fees over the length of the contract. And an Openreach spokesperson recently told the BBC that while it could not insist that the savings were given to customers, "clearly the right thing to do would be to pass it on".

No upfront cost broadband

Browse our range of broadband deals with no upfront cost.

Are there other cheap broadband deals available?

There are many low-cost broadband deals to choose from. They aren’t as cheap as the deals mentioned above, but they come with some of the lowest monthly prices you could find on the broadband market.

Instead of basic or limited plans, most of these offers are full packages with the usual bells and whistles you get with broadband service. Plus, you’ll have more flexibility to choose additional services.

Here's a quick look at some of the cheapest broadband deals on Uswitch:


Gigaclear Superfast 200 Broadband

Contract length
18 Months
Download limit
Upfront cost
No setup cost
Average speed*
Per month

monthly cost may rise during contract

Find more cheap broadband deals on Uswitch below. Once you add your postcode, press the ‘Sort by’ drop-down menu, select ‘Cost (low to high)’, and you will see the cheapest deals available on our site.

Find cheap broadband deals

Browse our selection of low-cost broadband deals if you want to save money on your next broadband service.

And if you don't qualify for a Universal Credit broadband deal but you're concerned your credit score might stop you from getting a broadband deal, take a look at our guide on how to get broadband with no credit check.

Broadband providers in the UK have also recently started waiving early exit fees for any customer who wants to move onto a cheaper tariff. So if you're looking to cut down on your current broadband bill, you won't be charged for doing so.

*Respondents in our study were asked, ‘How much do you - or whoever pays your bills - currently spend on your household’s broadband/landline bill(s) every month?’ The average figure for people eligible for social tariffs was £34.50 (compared to £39 not eligible). Swapping to BT’s £15-a-month Home Essentials tariff is a £19.50 a month saving. £19.50 x 12 months x 10.3 million people = £2.4 billion potential saving on broadband.


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