The new plan, Fibre 2 Essentials, has been designed to offer more choice in the social tariff broadband market and meet the needs of busier households.
Vodafone is promoting its social tariffs to pensioners, vulnerable people and those on benefits, including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Pension Credit.
The plan costs £20 a month and gives customers speeds of up to 73Mbps. It follows findings from consumer group Which? that concerns over broadband speed on social tariffs was slowing take-up of them.
Says Rocio Concha, Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy:
“We’re pleased that Vodafone has responded with this new faster offering following Which?’s campaigning in this area.”Which? research has found worries about the speed of social tariffs can be a barrier to take up. A range of social tariff options ensures eligible consumers can choose the right connection for their household’s needs.
“Ofcom, Which? and others have repeatedly called on broadband providers to do more to promote these tariffs to eligible customers and they must ramp up these efforts. Firms should also let customers on any contract leave without exit fees when switching to a social tariff – especially if they do not offer discounted tariffs themselves.”
Adds Alex Tofts, broadband expert at Broadband Genie:
“The arrival of Fibre 2 Essentials is a positive step that underlines Vodafone’s commitment to discounted deals for households that need them.
“While its 73Mb download rates can be beaten by some altnets like Hyperoptic, Fibre 2 is the fastest social tariff available from a mainstream provider and actually measures in at a fraction above the UK’s average speed (72.2Mb). This would be suitable for busy households of up to five people.
“At £20 per month – or 66p per day – it is one of the most expensive reduced-price deals on the market, but eligible customers will still be able to select Vodafone‘s current Essentials Broadband, which is 38Mb for £12 a month.
“Importantly, it means Vodafone joins other national broadband suppliers like BT and Virgin in offering different social tariff options and is helping to ensure these packages are not seen as the poor relation alongside other standard-priced deals.”
If you think you are eligible for a social tariff, check with your broadband provider as soon as possible to see if they have one and get moved onto it. You do not need to wait for your current contract to expire, and if they do not offer one, they should allow you to switch without an exit fee to a provider that does.
If you are not eligible for a social tariff but are struggling with your broadband costs, contact your provider immediately as they may be able to help. If you are out of contract, you will also be able to save money by switching to another supplier.