3 in 4 pensioners unaware of broadband social tariffs, claims study

Broadband, News

  • Over three-quarters of pensioners (78%) are still not aware of broadband social tariffs despite millions potentially being eligible for cheaper deals
  • Two-fifths of pensioners (41%) now say they rely on the internet to communicate with loved ones and a further 39% for entertainment
  • Broadband Genie is calling on providers to increase awareness of social tariffs, to help improve accessibility to the internet for older people

More than three-quarters (78%) of pensioners, close to 10 million people, are still not aware that they could be eligible for cheaper broadband deals through social tariffs, according to a survey from Broadband Genie.

Pensioners must meet the eligibility criteria to access low-cost social tariffs. If you receive pension credit, Attendance Allowance and Personal Independence Payment (PIP), you can access the discounted deals. The research from Broadband Genie suggests that there are many pensioners out there not taking advantage of social tariffs.

Access to affordable broadband is one of the major barriers to connectivity for the UK’s elderly population, with social tariffs ensuring that those on Universal Credit, or receiving other forms of financial assistance such as pension credit, can stay connected. 

These specialised rates usually offer the same level of service as standard deals, generous speeds, and come at a reduced monthly cost. They are also immune to annual mid-contract price increases by providers.

The importance of digital connectivity is highlighted by two-fifths of pensioners (41%) who admit they rely on the internet to communicate with loved ones and a further 39% who depend on it for entertainment.

Meanwhile, one in three over-65s (32%) use a laptop or computer for more than three hours each day and well over two-thirds (69%) of older people are active on social media platforms.

For those who aren’t eligible, Broadband Genie is urging pensioners to look at the price they are paying for a deal and consider switching to save money during the cost-of-living crisis.

Alex Tofts, broadband expert at Broadband Genie, comments: 

“It’s vital to ensure affordable broadband is accessible for older generations and financially vulnerable people to maintain connectivity. That’s where social tariffs play a crucial role.

“It’s concerning that many pensioners are unaware of the discounts they could be eligible for. It’s up to providers to take proactive steps in raising awareness and ensure people receiving state benefits are kept informed about social tariff options.

“If you believe you qualify for a social tariff, reach out to your broadband provider to see if it’s something they offer and whether you can switch. 

“There’s no need to wait for your current contract to end, and if they don’t offer a social tariff, they should facilitate a fee-free switch to a provider that does. 

Among the providers offering social tariffs are Vodafone, providing a 38Mbps Fibre 1 Essentials package for only £12 per month, and Community Fibre, offering a 35Mbps plan for £12.50 monthly. Others with social tariff options include Virgin Media, BT Home Essentials, Hyperoptic, and Sky.


Chris Price
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