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UK government to make low-income households aware of broadband and mobile social tariffs

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The UK government has said low-income households will be able to be alerted by broadband and mobile companies if they’re eligible for cheaper social tariffs. A new system being run by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will allow welfare claimants to give permission to ISPs to run a check with the DWP to ensure their eligibility for a social tariff.

In June, Neowin reported on a study from Which? that found eligible customers didn’t know they could get broadband and mobile services on a social tariff. Which? called on Ofcom to do something about it, but it looks as though the government is addressing the issue through the DWP.

The new scheme is being supported by Virgin Media O2. Customers that want to jump to its Essential Broadband social tariff will be able to do so without incurring early termination fees as long as they’re on another tariff offered by the company. The government said that just 1.2% of eligible people are taking advantage of these discounted social tariffs, hopefully, this scheme changes that as other bills rise.

To speak to the DWP, ISPs will need permission from their customers. DWP will not share much information with ISPs, it’ll only confirm the person is entitled to a qualifying benefit at the time of contact. For a full list of social tariffs, head over to Ofcom’s website.

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