BT helps narrow the ‘Digital Divide’ as Home Essentials is now available on the high street

  • Market-leading social tariff offers fibre broadband and call packages to everyone receiving Universal Credit (and other legacy benefits)
  • Simple, real-time eligibility checker and instant sign-up process now available in BT’s 550 stores
  • More people can access package with average download speeds of 36 Mbps and 700 minutes of calls for £15 a month – saving customers £240 a year* compared to an equivalent package.

Tuesday, 15th February 2022 – Today, accessing affordable, reliable internet connectivity becomes easier for the estimated 4.2 million households receiving Universal Credit and other benefits, as BT makes its market leading social tariff available to sign up for on the high street.

Previously only available online or over the phone, BT has now introduced the package and real-time eligibility checker into every one of its nationwide retail stores, making it easier and faster for customers receiving Universal Credit and other legacy benefits to sign-up.   

Making the social tariff available on the high-street for the first time will help more customers take advantage of the fibre broadband package as customers will now be able to sign-up instantly in-store. BT in-store colleagues are on hand to raise awareness of the market-leading social tariff and are trained to spot those who could benefit from Home Essentials and may need extra support. 

Tania Caporaso, Director of BT Customer Care said: “We know fast, reliable and affordable connectivity has never been as important as it is today. We’re urging anyone who qualifies for our at-cost, social tariff to get in touch, whether that’s on the phone or in one of our stores, to take advantage of BT Home Essentials, which has become a lifeline for many who want to stay connected for whatever reason that may be while they are out of work or unable to work.”

Vivien Waterfield, Deputy Chief Executive at Home-Start UK said “Recent research with our network reveals that using digital is one of the biggest challenges our families face **. Nearly half the families we support don’t own a laptop or tablet and 51% can’t afford data, yet digital access and skills are essential to enabling people to fully participate in an increasingly digital society. As a charity supporting families, we welcome initiatives which support parents managing tight budgets, to get online.” 

Home Essentials is a fibre broadband and call package exclusively available to everyone receiving Universal Credit (and certain legacy benefits), covering an estimated 4.2 million households. It has been designed to be flexible to help customers adapt if their financial situation changes with shorter contracts, eligibility reviews after the first 12 months and no cancellation fees.

BT Home Essentials is an industry leading social tariff for eligible customers with average download speeds of 36 Mbps and 700 mins of calls for £15 a month – saving customers £240 a year³ compared to an equivalent package.

It was launched in May 2021 to complement BT’s existing social tariff BT Basic and alongside BT Here For You Hub to bring together BT’s wide range of products and services for those who need extra help in one easy-to-navigate place.

* Based on standard pricing for BT’s equivalent broadband (Fibre Essential) and call plan packages currently on offer for £27.99, with £7 for calls versus £15 for BT Home Essentials

** Home-Start Digital Divide research (Nov 2021)

Parliamentary debate on Tackling the Digital Divide November 2021 



About BT

BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.

For the year ended 31 March 2021, BT Group’s reported revenue was £21,331m with reported profit before taxation of £1,804m.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/about

About BT Here For You Hub:

Here For You features detailed information on BT services designed to support customers who may need extra help with financial hardship, mental health conditions, critical illness, hearing and communication needs, and visual and physical impairments.

For those not comfortable going to shops customers will also find details information on Priority Fault Repair giving customers priority over standard faults by dealing with them as soon as BT can and Home Tech experts to help set up tech for them from their doorstep or in their home.

The help and tips section features everything from guides to dealing with scams, and third party account management options and Power of Attorney, along with more information on Home Essentials, BT’s new industry leading social tariff available exclusively to those on Universal Credit and a range of other means-tested benefits.

For more information visit www.bt.com/help/here-for-you.

About BT Home Essentials:

BT Home Essentials is only for eligible customers which includes those on Universal Credit and people receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, and Employment and Support Allowance. Home Essentials is also available for EE and Plusnet customers. It provides an average of 36 Mbps download speeds and 700 minutes of calls for £15 a month, around half the price of a standard fibre and calls package. Alternatively, eligible customers can also opt for average speeds of 67 Mbps and unlimited calls for £20 per month. The lowest price equivalent standard BT broadband package costs £32.99 a month, with an additional £15 for our unlimited calls plan – this means BT Home Essentials customers choosing the £20 option can save over £330 a year.

About Home Start:

Home-Start is a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times. Families struggling with postnatal depression, isolation, physical health problems, bereavement and many other issues receive the support of a volunteer who will spend around two hours a week in a family’s home supporting them in the ways they need. www.home-start.org.uk 

To find out more about our work or to arrange an interview with a Home-Start UK spokesperson:

Kath Sansom, Press and PR Manager

T: 07771 704732  E: ksansom@home-start.org.uk