Those on Universal Credit or other social benefit programs in the UK can now get BT's Home Essential fibre broadband internet with unlimited calls from just £15 per month. The discounted rate could help up to 4.6 million households.
Customers can sign up for 12-month contracts without any early exit fees.
BT’s research found that 74% of Britons would struggle to improve their financial well-being without internet access, while 79% of “financially vulnerable people” needed broadband access to maintain their household finances. The reduced tariffs, which BT says are being provided "at cost", could save eligible customers over £330 in a year – a welcome amount to those hit hardest by the pandemic.
The broadband provider offered a similar incentive in 2008 in its 'BT Basic plan' which reduced phone costs for those on Universal Credit without any income. The current offer broadens the eligibility to those who are on low income as well.
Here’s what you need to know about the reduced tariffs, costs, eligibility, and how to sign up.
What is BT's Home Essential broadband, and how much does it cost?
- £15 per month for 36Mbps average speed, with unlimited calls or;
- £20 per month for 67Mbps average speed, with unlimited calls
- £9.99 postage and packaging cost
- No additional line rental costs
- 12-month access even if benefits end
- No early exit fee
Home Essential, BT’s entry-level broadband package, offers average speeds of 36Mbps and typically costs £27.99 per month. That's plenty for day-to-day browsing, light (non-4K) streaming, social media, and video calls.
BT's reduced pricing drops the rate to £15 per month and includes unlimited minutes a month to call UK landlines and mobiles – this is an upgrade from the free 700 minutes for calls BT originally promised as a part of this support scheme.
There aren't any line rental fees either, only a £9.99 postage and packaging cost. You can also opt for a call-only plan for £10 per month with unlimited minutes too, a service that otherwise costs £36.77 per month – that's a £321 saving in a year.
Eligible customers who require faster broadband speeds can opt for 67Mbps broadband speeds too, with unlimited calls, for £20 per month. This package effectively combines BT’s Fibre 2 broadband plan, which costs £32.99 per month, with the unlimited phone plan that costs £36.77 per month. Again, the price includes line rental and there isn't a minimum term. The reduced rate saves customers £597 per year.
The higher speed is more appropriate for moderate to high usage households, especially with five or more people. You might be using multiple devices such as phones, tablets, and laptops all at the same time.
Speeds vary by location, so head over to BT to see the fastest speeds available in your area. Below is an example of a speed estimate – BT will also give you £20 back if it doesn't meet its 'Stay Fast' broadband speed guarantee.
See the best broadband deals available right now.
When can you sign up for BT’s Home Essential plan on Universal Credit?
BT launched the plan towards the end of June 2021, so you can sign up to BT Home Essentials broadband right now.
Who is eligible for BT’s reduced broadband rates?
The new affordable pricing will be available to those:
- On Universal Credit
- Receiving Guarantee Credit on a Pension Credit
- On Jobseeker’s Allowance
- On Income Support
- On Employment and Support Allowance
Unlike BT’s Basic plan initiative that offered jobseekers reduced telephone call rates, the new scheme also includes those who are on a low income.
If you're already using BT broadband and are eligible for the reduced rate, you should be able to switch to the new plan right away, without any additional costs.
How to sign up for BT Home Essential on Universal Credit
To sign up online, enter your postcode over at BT to see what broadband speeds you're eligible for and then head to check out. You'll need to provide your date of birth and National Insurance Number so BT can check your eligibility.
If you are eligible, you'll get access to Home Essentials for a year, even if your benefits end before that period. BT will run another eligibility check after a year to see if you're still eligible for the reduced rate and will get in touch if anything changes.
You can pay your BT bill via:
- Direct Debit
- Debit or credit card
- Phone, using a debit or credit card
- Bank transfer
- A PayPoint
Where else can I get reduced broadband rates with Universal Credit?
BT isn’t the first to offer reduced pricing for Universal Credit recipients. Virgin launched a similar tariff last November that offered 15Mbps for £15 per month. You can sign up for Virgin’s service here.
15Mbps is slower, of course. It's best suited for small households with light internet demands.
If you are a single-person household, you may prefer hot-spotting your phone and using it as a mobile router instead. Vodafone-owned Voxi launched its ‘Voxi for Now’ initiative last year, which reduces its unlimited data plan to £10 per month for job seekers for six months. The plan typically costs £35 per month. See this offer over at Voxi.