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Broadband providers to cut internet prices amid cost of living crisis

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
A Generic picture of a BT Home Broadband hub
The UK's biggest broadband and mobile companies have agreed to improve low-cost offers

Broadband providers have agreed to improve their cheapest deals and social tariffs, under new plans to help ease the cost of living.

BT Group (BT-A.L), Openreach, Virgin Media O2, Vodafone (VOD.L), Three, TalkTalk and Sky committed to a number of measures to support vulnerable customers at a summit in Downing Street.

These include allowing customers who are struggling with their bills to be able to move to a cheaper deal without facing a penalty.

Read more: Universal credit: 4.2 million households missing out on £144 broadband savings

Currently, customers face paying hundreds of pounds to leave their providers if still under contract.

Those struggling to pay their bills will also be given manageable payment plans.

Explaining tariffs, improving existing deals and promoting them better will also be part of a wider plan to help vulnerable customers. For example, providers will raise awareness of low-cost products to customers on Universal Credit.

Discounted social tariffs are already available to people who receive certain government benefits.

Nadine Dorries, digital secretary, said: “Families across the country face increased anxiety about keeping up with bills, so today I agreed with broadband and mobile industry bosses what more can be done to support people during this difficult time.

“I’m pleased to report the industry is listening and has signed up to new commitments offering customers struggling with the cost of living help to stay connected.”

The new measures come into affect immediately, with those who need support urged to contact their supplier as soon as possible.

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “It is good news that providers are taking action to help the most financially vulnerable through the cost of living crisis. We know from our research that millions could be missing out on significant savings because not enough has been done to proactively reach out to those that are eligible for social tariffs.

Read more: Cost of living crisis: Top tips to cut broadband and mobile bills

“The success of these initiatives will be judged by whether the right support is getting to the people who need it the most, so we need to see the government and providers continuing to work together to get these new measures up and running as soon as possible.”

Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said the pledges “must progress to tougher, permanent protections”.

“We still see too many examples of sharp practice like overcharging loyal customers, inflation-busting mid-contract price rises, and a shockingly low take-up of social tariffs. So this is by no means job done,” she added.

Watch: How to save money on a low income