Electronic income

Low-income customers should be better served by broadband providers

Broadband providers must do more to promote their social tariffs to low-income customers, while millions are still missing out on vital savings, according to consumer group Which? said.

The consumer champion said his own research suggested providers weren’t regularly advertising their cheaper deals on social media. Social tariffs are special discounted offers available to certain low-income customers – for example, those on Universal Credit – to ensure they can stay connected.

Who? checked the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts of seven broadband providers throughout May, but found that only one provider had mentioned social tariffs in posts during this period. He said his own research found that customers eligible for social rates could save an average of £250 a year by switching to the cheapest social rate.

A number of broadband operators offer social rate cuts, but regulator Ofcom has previously noted that most people eligible for such offers have not signed up. In February, he said only 55,000 of the roughly 4.2 million eligible households had taken up the discounted offers. The regulator called on providers to do more to promote social tariffs, make information about them clearer and ensure the sign-up process is as easy as possible.

“It is unacceptable that broadband providers are not doing more to inform customers of social tariffs – meaning millions of households who may be struggling to make ends meet could lose hundreds of pounds of savings,” said Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy, Rocio Concha.

“During a cost of living crisis, broadband providers must support the most financially vulnerable by clearly promoting discounted offers and making it easier for eligible customers to switch to social tariffs.”

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