Half price broadband for 200,000 Merseysiders

BT is to offer access to fibre broadband at less than half price to any household in receipt of Universal Credit which could benefit more than 200,000 people in Liverpool city region. Tony McDonough reports

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More than 200,000 people in Merseyside could access half-price BT broadband

 

More than 200,000 people in the Liverpool city region will be able to access fibre broadband at less than half price under a new offer from BT.

On Monday, the telecommunications giant unveiled plans to offer fibre broadband at less than half price to any household in the UK which is receiving universal credit from next month. It is estimated this will apply to more than 4m households in the UK.

According to the latest figures there are 177,250 people in Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Halton, in receipt of Universal Credit. Under the scheme other adults not in receipt of the benefit, as well as children, will also be able to access free broadband if they are living in the same house as a claimant.

According to comparison site Uswitch, the average fibre package in the UK costs about £25 a month. Under the new scheme those eligible will pay £15 a month for the BT Home Essentials package. This normally costs £32.99 a month.

This package offers speeds of around 36 megabits per second (Mbps). Virgin Media also offers existing customers who are on Universal Credit speeds of about 15Mbps for £15 a month.

Marc Allera, chief executive of BT’s consumer division, said the company hoped to offer help to millions who are struggling to get back on to their feet following the pandemic.

He added: “BT Home Essentials will be available at half the price of our standard fibre package, helping a potential four million households on low income save on bills and stay connected to vital online services.”

Matt Howett, from analysts Assembly Research, told the BBC: “Recognising the need to be connected, and the financial hardship customers faced, many operators have taken steps to ensure access to vital services.

“We’ve really seen the sector step up and respond to the challenging circumstances many customers have found themselves in.”

Ultrafast broadband was meant to be available to the whole of the UK by 2025. However, delays to the infrastructure rollout means it will now be available to 85% of the country by then under the £5bn plan.

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