Vodafone UK has introduced Fibre 2 Essentials, a new social tariff plan in response to the escalating cost-of-living crisis. This plan offers a glimmer of relief to financially strained families by providing faster broadband speeds.
For £20, the package includes speeds of up to 73Mbps, zero set-up fee, and the liberty to exit the plan at any point without incurring additional costs. What’s more, the tariff remains constant throughout the contract, devoid of price hikes.
The social tariff plan is accessible to individuals on a variety of support allowances, including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit, Reduced Earnings Allowance, and Pension Credit amongst others.
This is not the first of such offerings from Vodafone. Their 38 Mbps Fibre 1 Essentials package has been available since October of last year.
Ahmed Essam, CEO of Vodafone UK asserted, “We have led the way in social tariffs, being the first to launch both fixed and mobile connectivity. We now hear the call for telecoms providers to do more to support people in the cost-of-living crisis.”
Indeed, connectivity in the modern era is not a mere luxury, but a necessity for functioning within society. With that in mind, the company is doing all it can to make sure everyone can stay connected, added Essam.
In light of Vodafone’s proposed merger with Three UK, all of its social tariff options will remain available for customers.
Alex Tofts from Broadband Genie stated, “While its 73Mb download rates can be beaten by some altnets like Hyperoptic, Fibre 2 is the fastest social tariff available from a mainstream provider and actually measures in at a fraction above the UK’s average speed (72.2Mb).” However, he pointed out that at £20 per month, it is one of the costlier reduced-price deals on the market.
That being said, Vodafone’s new tariff is undoubtedly enhancing the spectrum of affordable connectivity options, joining ranks with companies like BT and Virgin.
Yet, despite these efforts, millions of households that qualify are still not tapping into the benefits of social tariffs. A study from Ofcom highlighted the lack of public awareness and uptake with merely 220,000 out of 4.2 million eligible households in the UK utilizing these deals.
Ofcom has been vocal about companies needing to better advertise and encourage uptake of their social tariffs. It has specifically urged providers who do not currently offer a subsidised tariff, such as O2 and TalkTalk, to introduce these tariffs promptly.
The effort to support vulnerable customers amid a cost-of-living crisis accelerates in the UK telecoms industry. Is it enough? This is a question that will be explored further at this year’s Connected Britain conference, the UK’s largest digital economy event.