Virgin Media launches new social tariff for Universal Credit claiments

Rip Off Britain looks at broadband social tariffs

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Launched today, the new social tariff called Essential Broadband Plus is available for both new and existing customers of Virgin Media O2. Described as Virgin Media O2 as being “superfast”, the social tariff offers those on Universal Credit a broadband speed of 50Mbps £20 a month. It is also available on a 30-day rolling contract with no price change for the entire contract length for customers who are receiving Universal Credit.

The “Plus” package is the second social tariff offered by Virgin Media O2 with the first being the Essential Broadband launched two years ago in 2020.

Originally the Essential Broadband offered those claiming Universal Credit a broadband speed of 15Mbps for £15 a month.

Recently Virgin Media O2 cut the price of this plan by 16 percent to £12.50 per month.

The telecoms firm says this makes the social tariff “one of the cheapest packages in the market.”

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Virgin Media highlighted both existing and new customers could transfer to either social tariff free of charge.

People are able to do this regardless of where they are in their current Virgin Media contract.

New customers are also able to join with no activation fee.

Virgin Media O2 said “coupled together” the two tariffs provide their customers who are on Universal Credit “greater choice” for broadband.

Jeff Dodds, chief operating officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “We know how important affordable, reliable connectivity is – which is why we were one of the first providers to launch a social tariff back in 2020 to support customers facing financial difficulty.

“Fast forward two years and our new faster alternative, Essential Broadband Plus, is providing even greater choice and flexibility for those in need with speeds of 50Mbps for just £20 a month.

“It’s just one of the many ways we’re doing more to help support our customers through the cost-of-living crisis, delivering better value at a time when it matters most.”

People can sign up for one of Virgin Media O2 social tariffs through their dedicated social tariff page on their website.

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To sign up, people will need to get their details ready to prove they are eligible for the social tariff.

This will include having a screenshot of their online Universal Credit Payments page which will need to include someone’s name, address, assessment period and payment date.

This date will need to be within the last 30 days.

This year, Virgin Media O2 has seen a 294 percent increase in its Essential Broadband sign-ups.

Due to this, Virgin Media is calling on the Government to cut VAT on social tariffs from 20 percent to five percent, which is in line with other utilities such as gas and electricity.

If the Government make this move, Virgin Media O2 says it could reduce the price of its Essential Broadband plans to £10.93 for its 15Mbps and £17.50 for its 50Mbps packages. 

Virgin Media O2 said this would help to generate extra savings for social tariff customers that need them most each month. has contacted HM Treasury for comment.

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