Millions miss out on broadband savings says Ofcom

Regulator warns that more than half of low-income households in the UK miss out on broadband deals that could save them £200 each year.

Merely 5.1% of the 4.3 million households eligible for ‘social tariffs’ that could halve their broadband bills have signed up to the scheme. Latest figures from Ofcom reveal that just 220,000 households were enrolled as of February 2023. 

Ofcom found that 53% of households didn’t even know about these schemes. That’s especially concerning given so many social tariff schemes are now available. 

More and more broadband providers offer social tariffs – the number has increased by 85% since January 2022. Three mobile phone providers also now offer social tariff schemes. 

To be eligible for a social tariff, households must already receive one of a range of government benefits. 

Ofcom is now working with consumer organisation Which? to alert people to the schemes available – and the huge savings to be made. The regulator also urges TalkTalk and O2 to introduce social tariffs for broadband and mobile customers respectively. In the meantime, it expects companies to waive fees for customers who switch providers to access such schemes elsewhere. 

Lindsey Fussell, Group Director for Network and Communications at Ofcom, says: ‘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. Providers should also do much more to help these customers find and access these deals, at a time when these savings could make a massive difference.’ 

Rocio Concha, Director of Policy and Advocacy at consumer organisation Which? says: ‘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.’ 

‘Broadband providers need to step up their efforts to promote their social tariffs to low-income consumers and ensure people aren’t missing out unnecessarily. They must also make sure customers do not have to pay any Early Termination Charges to move to another firm’s social tariff.’  

‘We’d strongly encourage anyone who thinks they could be eligible for a social tariff to get in touch with their provider as soon as possible – as switching to these discounted rates could halve their bills overnight.’ 

Last week, the Department for Business and Trade announced a new Smart Data Council that will help consumers and small firms cut monthly household bills through better sharing of data and tackling the ‘loyalty penalty.’

Photo by Jarmoluk


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