BT broadband: who is eligible for half price Home Essentials?

BT has just launched the Home Essentials package, offering broadband and calls for £15 to those on low incomes. We take a closer look at who’s eligible.

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The quest for cheaper broadband is crucial if you need to save money. The recently launched Home Essentials broadband package from BT is a social tariff providing affordable calls and broadband for people on low incomes.

Let’s take a look at whether you are eligible to get BT Broadband for less.


Why is BT offering cheap home broadband?

While many of us barely use a landline phone, these days it’s hard to function without broadband. This is especially true for anyone looking for work, who has to apply for jobs and benefits online. Families are increasingly obliged to support their children’s education by providing adequate broadband, and this can be challenging for those on benefits. 

In 2019, the Labour Party manifesto pledged to provide free broadband for all by 2030. The plan was to nationalise BT and create a Full Fibre infrastructure, paid for using a tax on tech giants. Since the pandemic, it is clear that broadband has become a basic requirement for everyone, but some are struggling to pay the bills.

How much is BT Home Essentials?

BT Home Essentials is less than half the price of their standard fibre broadband package.

  • For £15 per month, eligible customers get 700 minutes of landline calls and average broadband speeds of 36Mbps.
  • For £20 per month, you can get unlimited landline calls and average speeds of 67Mbps, if you qualify.

The package comes with BT’s Smart Hub, which has a range of up to 500 metres, though there’s a £9.99 charge for postage.  Also included is free access to BT’s Wi-Fi hotspots.

Although it’s possible to get much faster broadband, BT Home Essentials is equivalent to their standard package. This should be more than sufficient for most households.

In general, BT is not the cheapest broadband provider, so existing BT customers might feel as though they are subsidising BT Home Essentials. For an average broadband speed of 36 Mbps, BT charges regular customers as much as £44.66 per month, if calls are included.

Can you get the BT broadband Home Essentials deal?

To be eligible for the discounted service, BT requires customers to provide their National Insurance number. To get BT broadband Home Essentials, you must be in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit)

So, this cheaper BT broadband is aimed at the unemployed, the disabled, and pensioners with very limited additional income. More than four million UK households can take advantage of the offer.

Existing BT broadband customers who are eligible can transfer to Home Essentials. This includes customers on the BT Basic and Broadband package. It is possible to remain on the cheaper (and slower) BT Basic social tariff for as long as you need, it just won’t be available for new customers. 

If you are with another provider, you can switch to BT to get the discount once you are out of contract. New customers have to undergo a credit check.

With BT Home Essentials, you sign up for a 12-month contract. If your financial situation improves and you are no longer receiving the benefit that enabled you to apply, your monthly broadband bill will stay the same until the contract ends.


Is BT broadband Home Essentials the only social tariff?

Virgin also offers broadband at £15 for existing customers on Universal Credit.

Hyperoptic’s Fair Fibre Plan has a range of rolling monthly broadband contracts with a wider eligibility net. It includes people in receipt of Housing Benefit and Attendance Allowance.

Other providers may follow BT and set up social tariffs for their customers, or choose to keep their prices lower for everyone.

Are you struggling to pay for broadband?

What if you are on a low income but not in receipt of any of the qualifying benefits for BT Home Essentials? There is no need to pay more than £25 per month for phone and broadband packages.

Even if you are eligible for a social tariff it is still worth doing a price comparison before signing up with BT. Taking advantage of voucher offers, or a cashback site like Top Cashback, when you switch can save you additional money. You’ll perhaps save enough to put a little extra in your savings account.

If you really don’t need broadband, BT offers unlimited landline calls for £10 per month.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

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