Your cookie preferences

We use cookies and similar technologies. You can use the settings below to accept all cookies (which we recommend to give you the best experience) or to enable specific categories of cookies as explained below. Find out more by reading our Cookie Policy.

Select cookie preferences

Skip to main content

One million people cancel their broadband - despite many being eligible for discounted deals

4.3 million households are missing out on broadband savings with social tariffs going unclaimed
Share this guide
man sat at a desk on the phone while looking at his laptop

A recent survey by Citizen’s Advice found that one million people cancelled their broadband subscriptions in the last year as they couldn’t afford the monthly payments. But it turns out many of these people could have actually been moved onto heavily discounted broadband deals instead.

Households on low incomes could be saving on their monthly bills by signing up to one of the social tariffs offered by a number of the UK’s major broadband providers – that is, if they even knew they existed.

Research from Ofcom earlier in the year revealed that 4.3 million people who were eligible to sign up for a discounted broadband deal had not done so. With just 5% of eligible households signing up, this works out at £824 million of support going unclaimed, or an average of £200 a year for every eligible home. 

If you’re on Universal Credit and struggling with your bills, you could potentially sign up to one of these broadband social tariffs so you can save each month and don’t need to get behind in your bills in order to stay online.

The Citizens Advice survey of 6,000 people suggested those on Universal Credit were six times more likely to have cancelled their contracts in the last 12 months than non-claimants. This makes sense as Universal Credit claimants were also said to be four times more likely to be behind on their broadband bills.

However, internet access is now absolutely necessary in order to access all manner of essential services. Everything from applying for jobs, managing benefits and making an appointment with your GP – all of it is done online. 

Citizens Advice included the example case study of 63-year-old Rob, who had been unable to afford broadband since 2012: 

"Not having access at home means if I am applying for a job I need to give myself more time because the library is not open all day.

"I can't just think at 10pm, 'Let me go back to that application and finish filling it in.' It also limits me from accessing services like my GP, online help and shopping."

Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said, "People are being priced out of internet access at a worrying rate. Social tariffs should be the industry's safety net, but firms' current approach to providing and promoting them clearly isn't working.

"The people losing out as a result are the most likely to disconnect."

What are broadband social tariffs?

Social tariffs offered by broadband providers can start from as little as ÂŁ12 a month, giving those most in need access to online services, hopefully without falling behind on their bills.

These deals are widely available across the UK – with 99% of the country able to access some of them – and they offer a basic internet connection with speeds of anywhere from 15Mbps to 150Mbps, depending on your location.

Each provider has broadly similar eligibility requirements, with most accepting those on Universal Credit or Pension Credit, but you could also qualify if you’re receiving Disability Allowance or Personal Independence Payment​.

In order to sign up, you’ll need to do so directly with your chosen provider who will assess your eligibility and set up your account.

You can read more about broadband social tariffs and get more details on who to contact and how to sign up with your dedicated guide.

If you’re not eligible but still want to cut down on your monthly bills, have a look at our range of cheap broadband deals currently available for £25 a month or less.

Find cheap broadband deals

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


child learning from home with his teacher on a video call

Broadband social tariffs for universal credit and low incomes - Uswitch

If you're on Universal Credit or receiving other financial benefits, you can find a much cheaper broadband deal with these providers.

Read our guide on broadband social tariffs
how to switch broadband guide

How to switch broadband - a guide to changing your provider

Want to switch your broadband service? Here's how to do it all, from finding the speed you need to choosing the right provider and deal for you.

Read our guide on switching broadband
two people at home sorting out their bills

How to save money on your broadband bill - Uswitch

Looking for ways to save money on your monthly bills? Here's how you can reduce what you spend on your broadband.

Read our saving money on broadband tips
woman at home paying her bills looking concerned at her laptop

Broadband price rises in 2024 explained - Uswitch

Broadband prices gone up mid-contract? Learn why prices have increased by as much as 8.8% in 2024, and what you can do about it if you're affected.

Read our broadband price rises guide