On the Ask Martin segment on Nihal Arthanayake’s BBC Radio 5 Live programme this afternoon, the money saving expert answered a listener’s question on getting free broadband. He explained that people who are on a low income or unemployed may be able to get free broadband on TalkTalk for six months if they are eligible.
He said: “Your job centre may be able to give you six months free TalkTalk broadband only if you are unemployed and are searching for a job.
“Universal Credit works under the BT essential broadband which is £15 a month broadband online.
“People can get the BT basic broadband package, but the TalkTalk package is to help people searching for a job while they are looking for a job.
“There are quite a few social tariffs out there.”
Last September, TalkTalk partnered with the DWP to launch the Flexible Support Fund, a scheme giving job seekers six months’ free internet broadband.
Any jobseeker who could be eligible for free broadband should raise it with their JobCentre Plus work coach.
It is then down to their work coach to decide if they can be accepted for a voucher.
People who qualify will receive a voucher for free broadband for six months and there is no requirement to sign up with TalkTalk afterwards.
Six percent of all homes in the UK do not have access to the internet, meaning 1.5 million people are offline, according to data from Ofcom.
The scheme was supposed to “democratise the internet and bring affordable, high-quality connectivity to everyone, helping to erase the UK’s digital divide,” Daniel Kasmir, Chief People & Procurement Officer at TalkTalk, said.
If people are not eligible for the free TalkTalk broadband, and they claim benefits, other options may be available. Mr Lewis mentioned two other deals from BT and Virgin that are low in price.
Both BT and Virgin Media offer discounted broadband bills for people on a low income.
Millions of families could apply for the BT package which promises speeds of up to 36 megabits per second (Mbps) for £15.
People can upgrade to 67Mb/s speeds for an extra £5 a month.
There’s also a call-only tariff for £10 per month if you don’t need internet.
The BT broadband package is a 12-month contract, but there are no early exit fees so Britons aren’t tied in if their circumstances change, and they no longer want to pay.
Alternatively, Virgin Media also offers existing customers who are on Universal Credit speeds of about 15 Mbps for £15 a month.
These discounts are available to people claiming Universal Credit, the guarantee credit element of Pension Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support and Employment and Support Allowance.
Equivalent tariffs for those not on benefits cost £27.99 a month for broadband and £21.10 per month for call.