A recent study from thinkbroadband.com has highlighted a concerning trend in Liverpool, where countless families may be paying too much for their broadband service due to low awareness of ‘social tariffs’. These tariffs offer reduced rates for internet access to individuals on a tight budget, such as those receiving Universal Credit, but promotion of these options has been sorely lacking.
According to the communications regulator Ofcom, a mere 8.3% of around 4.5 million UK households that could benefit from social tariffs are currently taking advantage of them. In Liverpool, about 64,000 people eligible for Universal Credit could claim these reduced rates but remain uninformed. Thinkbroadband.com’s poring over this issue brings to light the underwhelming effort from broadband providers to make their customers aware of these money-saving opportunities.
Director of thinkbroadband.com Sebastien Lahtinen noted the providers’ inefficiency in marketing their subsidised plans, with many keeping this information on hard-to-find web pages or under unclear labels like ‘flex’. This lack of transparency could be costing financially vulnerable families the chance to access cheaper broadband.
The report paints an urgent picture, stressing the importance of the internet as a cornerstone of modern life, from government services and educational resources to essential online shopping. It was observed that smaller alternative networks (alt-nets) are more proactive in informing customers about these savings, unlike the biggest national players.
After the COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in Universal Credit, broadband social tariffs were introduced in 2022 to alleviate the ending of a £20/week credit uplift. To understand the criteria for eligibility and to learn more about social tariffs, thinkbroadband.com’s complete State of Broadband report is an invaluable resource.
FAQ Section Based on the Main Topics and Information Presented in the Article:
What is the main concern highlighted in the thinkbroadband.com study?
The study highlights the low awareness of ‘social tariffs’ for broadband services in Liverpool, leading to many eligible families paying more than they should.
What are ‘social tariffs’?
Social tariffs are reduced rates for internet access provided to individuals on a tight budget, such as those receiving Universal Credit.
How many UK households could benefit from social tariffs?
Around 4.5 million UK households could benefit from social tariffs, according to Ofcom.
What percentage of eligible UK households are taking advantage of social tariffs?
Only 8.3% of eligible households are taking advantage of social tariffs.
How many people in Liverpool are eligible but potentially uninformed about social tariffs?
Approximately 64,000 people eligible for Universal Credit in Liverpool could claim these reduced rates but remain uninformed.
What does thinkbroadband.com suggest about broadband providers and the promotion of social tariffs?
They suggest that broadband providers have not been effective in marketing their subsidised plans, often hiding this information on hard-to-find web pages or labeling them unclearly.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the introduction of broadband social tariffs?
Following an increase in Universal Credit during the COVID-19 pandemic, broadband social tariffs were introduced in 2022 to help compensate for the end of a £20/week credit uplift.
Where can individuals find more information on eligibility criteria and social tariffs?
The complete State of Broadband report by thinkbroadband.com provides details on eligibility criteria and further information on social tariffs.
Definitions for Key Terms or Jargon:
– Social Tariffs: Discounted broadband rates designated for households with low income or those receiving assistance like Universal Credit.
– Universal Credit: A type of social security payment in the UK designed to help those who are on a low income or out of work.
– Ofcom: The communications regulator in the UK which oversees broadband, TV, radio, and phone services.
– Alt-nets: Alternative network providers, usually smaller companies that offer internet services, distinct from large national providers.
Please note that the complete State of Broadband report is an essential resource to understand the full extent of the issue discussed, and you would need to refer to thinkbroadband.com for that specific information.