BT is dropping prices for millions of broadband customers starting next month. The brand-new bundle, which will only be on offer to those on Universal Credit, will cost just £15 a month. That's about half the price that BT usually charges for its standard connection.
The all-new service, called BT Home Essentials, will offer speeds of some 36Mbps, which definitely isn't the most impressive out there but still means you can download a full HD movie in around 17 minutes. Those who need to be online to start applying for jobs, attending interviews over Zoom, pay council tax, register to vote, and everything else …speeds of 36Mbps will be more than good enough. Those who sign up to the BT Home Essentials plan will also receive 700 minutes of free calls.
If 36Mbps really doesn't sound enough for your needs, then eligible customers who receive Universal Credit can also opt for faster average speeds of 67 Mbps and totally unlimited calls. This premium option costs £20 per month which is still considerably cheaper than standard pricing from BT.
Another advantage of these plans over the standard-priced counterparts is that BT doesn't require a minimum contract term. If your financial situation is in flux, the last thing you want to do is commit yourself to a 24-month contract with BT broadband. That's usually the minimum for all BT contracts, but those who sign up to the Home Essentials plan will be able to pay on a month-by-month basis.
Announcing the new plans earlier this year, Marc Allera, CEO, BT’s Consumer division, said, “Fast, reliable connectivity has never been as important as it is today, with millions of people relying upon our networks to get back on their feet after the pandemic. We want to help as many people as we can, which is why at the end of June we’ll be launching BT Home Essentials, increasing the eligibility of our social tariff to include all customers on Universal Credit. BT Home Essentials will be available at half the price of our standard fibre package, helping a potential four million households on low income save on bills and stay connected to vital online services.”
The new low-cost tariff comes as research from BT has revealed that, following the public health crisis, almost three-quarters of Brits would not find it easy to improve their financial situation without connectivity, and the majority of financially vulnerable people rely on broadband connectivity to manage household finances.
BT isn't the only company that offers discounted plans for those who are struggling financially. Broadband rival Virgin Media launched something similar last year. Dubbed Essential Broadband, this plan offers an internet connection at a much lower price.
The monthly plan includes unlimited broadband for £15 per month with Virgin stating that there's no fixed-term contract to sign and the promise of no price increases. Virgin Media's Essential broadband is available to anyone who receives Universal Credit, with customers able to apply for this discounted service on the website. To be eligible, you'll need to supply proof of your Universal Credit.
Likewise, Hyperoptic, which specialises in full-fibre connections in city centres across the UK, offers discounted plans for those who are struggling financially. Its 50Mbps plan, which would usually cost £22 a month, now costs £15 a month. Hyperoptic throws in free installation and free activation for anyone on this plan. For an extra £3 a month, Hyperoptic customers can add unlimited free evening and weekend calls to UK landlines.
Speeds of 150Mbps will cost £25 a month (down from £35 a month) and, again, an extra £3 a month will add the same free evening and weekend calls to UK landlines perk.
Written by David Minister
Accessibility - /10
Usability - /10
HD Quality streaming - /10
Application support - /10