Broadband when on benefits or universal credit

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Broadband is a modern day essential, but it can be difficult to find the money to pay for it if you’re on benefits or universal credit.

The cost of living crisis has made things even harder, and nearly everyone is looking at ways to lower their bills. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to stay connected without spending a fortune.


Key points


BT Home Essentials

BT Home Essentials is a low-cost broadband and phone plan for people on certain benefits. At a heavily discounted price of £15 a month, BT says you’ll see average speeds up to 67Mb.


To qualify, you’ll need to be receiving one of the following benefits:

You’ll need to provide your National Insurance number when you order, so that it can check if you’re eligible.

Home Essentials is only available as a 12 month contract. Each year, BT will check to make sure you’re still eligible.



Other broadband deals

If you’re on benefits, BT isn't your only option.

Virgin Media Essential Broadband

Virgin offers broadband for low income families for £15 a month. Essential Broadband is a 30 day rolling contract, meaning you’re not locked down and can leave at any time. It only advertises an average download speed of 15Mbps, but promises it won’t slow you down at peak times. Unlike BT, this doesn’t include a phone line, which can be a good thing if you don’t plan to use your landline.

Hyperoptic Fair Fibre

If you’re on benefits, Hyperoptic offers significant discounts on their broadband packages. You won’t be locked down to a lengthy contract and prices start from £15 a month.

Compare prices in your area

Compare broadband to find cheap broadband deals in your area.

You might find an unlimited broadband package in your area at very competitive monthly costs.

Broadband with poor credit history

Broadband providers usually carry out a credit check as part of the application process.

If you’ve got a poor credit history you can still get a broadband contract, but it might be more expensive.

You also might be able to find providers who don’t perform credit checks, which is sometimes the case with short-term contracts and mobile broadband.

Not sure what your credit score is? Sites like Credit Karma and Experian allow you to check for free.


Alternatives to home broadband

Home broadband might be the obvious answer to getting online, but it's not the only option you have.

Use your mobile

If you have a mobile phone contract with unlimited data, or a big data limit, you could use your smartphone to access the internet, rather than taking out a home broadband contract.

You could potentially save money by ditching your landline as well if you have unlimited calls included in your mobile phone package.

Your local library

Not only will your local library have computers you can use with free internet access, they normally have free Wi-Fi which you can connect to with your own devices.

Free public Wi-Fi spots

Free Wi-Fi hotspots exist all over the country: in cafes, on trains and around shopping centres. You can usually find somewhere to access free internet while you’re out and about.

Some cities like London and Manchester provide public, city-wide Wi-Fi, which is a great option if you live in the area.

Tether to your phone

You don’t have to pay for both a home broadband and phone deal. If your signal is strong enough, you could rely on mobile internet to do everything. You could turn your phone into a portable hotspot then tether your devices to it. You’ll have to be careful not to go over your mobile data allowance - look out for cheap SIM Only deals with a high data cap.

It's not the best option if you only have limited data, or use pay as you go, as the data you use while tethering is deducted from your monthly allowance. Also, not all mobile phone contracts will allow tethering.

Compare your options and see which works out best for you.