From today, new and existing Virgin Media customers facing financial difficulty and who are claiming Universal Credit can sign up for Essential Broadband Plus, the company’s fastest social tariff which offers broadband with speeds of 54Mbps for just £20 a month.
The new superfast tier is available on a 30-day rolling contract with no price change for as long as a customer is receiving Universal Credit.
The ‘Plus’ package is the business’ second social tariff following the launch of Essential Broadband in 2020. Originally 15Mbps for £15 a month, the telecom firm recently cut prices on this plan by 16% to £12.50 per month, making it one of the cheapest packages in the market.
Existing customers are able to transfer to either social tariff package free of charge regardless of where they are in their current Virgin Media contract and new customers are able to join with no activation fee.
Coupled together, the two social tariffs are providing customers with greater choice depending on their broadband usage needs.
Those looking to benefit from the package can find more information about how to sign up or switch on Virgin Media’s dedicated webpage.
On top of information on the company’s website, the provider has also regularly publicised the support available through its social media channels and in the communications, it sends to customers every year related to their contract. This year, Virgin Media O2 has seen a 294% increase in its Essential Broadband sign ups.
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 54Mbps 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.”
Stream from Virgin Media add on
The company is also giving Essential Broadband Plus customers the option to add Virgin Media O2’s latest entertainment product, called Stream, for an upfront, one-off fee of just £20 – a 42% saving on the normal £35 charge – with no long-term contract or ongoing charges for the basic package. Stream simply plugs into any TV and seamlessly combines live TV, on-demand apps, popular streaming subscriptions and must-watch movies all in one place with personalisation and flexibility at its core. Virgin Media O2 is the only provider to offer an entertainment add on to a social tariff.
Any customer taking Stream can get 10% credit back on the subscriptions they add to the service via their Virgin Media bill, giving customers a more affordable way to subscribe to major streaming services.
Cost-of-living support measures and the National Databank
Virgin Media O2 has consistently provided additional support to vulnerable customers and those struggling to afford connectivity, particularly through the cost-of-living crisis. This includes expanding the list of support websites that customers can access without using any mobile data as well as giving away tens of thousands of devices to those who need it through Community Calling.
Partnering with Good Things Foundation, the company pioneered the National Databank – like a foodbank but for data – which provides free mobile connectivity to people who need it, pledging to donate 61 million GB of free data by the end of 2025. Earlier this week, Virgin Media O2 announced that the Databank would be accessible on the high street for the first time via 10 O2 stores across the UK, and has put Databank front and centre of O2’s major new festive advertising campaign. This was coupled with an additional donation of 1 million GB of free data through special ‘O2 Christmas SIM Cards’ which can be gifted to help even more people stay connected this Christmas.
Cut VAT on Social Tariffs
To go further, the business is also calling on the new Government to cut VAT on social tariffs, from 20% to no more than 5%, which is in line with other utilities such as gas and electricity. Virgin Media O2 has committed to directly pass on any VAT cut in a price reduction to all its Essential Broadband plans, which will mean a price drop to just £10.93 for 15Mbps and £17.50 for 54Mbps packages, helping to generate extra savings for households that need them most each month.