BT to launch new at-cost social tariff in June – offering support to over four million households on low income

  • BT Home Essentials to launch next month, offering fibre broadband and call packages to everyone receiving Universal Credit (and certain legacy benefits*), covering an estimated 4.6 million households

  • BT research reveals nearly a third of Brits feel more financially vulnerable since the start of the pandemic¹ and a quarter of financially vulnerable people worry about being cut off if they can’t pay their bills²

  • 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

BT has announced it will launch BT Home Essentials in June, a market leading social tariff connecting those on low income with affordable fibre broadband and calls. The new low cost tariff comes as BT research reveals that since the pandemic, almost three quarters (74%) of Brits would not find it easy to improve their financial situation without connectivity¹, and the majority (79%) of financially vulnerable people rely on broadband connectivity to manage household finances².

Available exclusively to those on Universal Credit and a range of other means-tested benefits*, BT Home Essentials meets the demands of the modern home and provides futureproof fibre connectivity at a time when online resources have never been more important. BT research has found that three times as many people say they could not go without broadband (67%) versus public transport (20%)¹.

BT Home Essentials is a separate and improved social tariff compared to BT’s initial version, BT Basic, launched in 2008. Home Essentials 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.4

Marc Allera, CEO, BT’s Consumer division, said, “Fast, reliable connectivity has never been as important as it is today, with millions of people relying upon our networks to get back on their feet after the pandemic.

“We want to help as many people as we can, which is why at the end of June we’ll be launching BT Home Essentials, increasing the eligibility of our social tariff to include all customers on Universal Credit. 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.”

Digital Infrastructure Minister, Matt Warman, said: “In today's digital world, everyone should be able to access fast, reliable and affordable internet, so I'm thrilled that BT is the latest provider to launch new deals for low income households.

“We have been working with internet providers to offer affordable broadband tariffs for those struggling with bills to help the UK build back fairer from the pandemic. I hope to see others taking similar action soon.”

BT also continues to work closely with Government to support families. BT’s ‘Lockdown Learning’ has provided connectivity to over 175,000 families, to help children to continue learning from home. BT Home Essentials will provide an affordable option for families to receive fast broadband for the whole household.


Notes to editors:

*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.

¹ Based on a survey interviewing a nationally representative sample of c.2,000 GB adults – April 2021

² Based on an online survey among mobile and broadband owners whose household receive a benefit or tax credit. Research conducted in March 2021 among 904 respondents

³ Based on standard pricing for BT’s equivalent broadband (Fibre Essential) and call plan packages on offer on 29 April 2021 for £27.99, with £7 for calls versus £15 for BT Home Essentials

4 Based on standard pricing for BT’s equivalent broadband (Fibre 2) and call plan packages on offer on 29 April 2021 for £32.99, with £15 for unlimited calls versus £20 for BT Home Essentials

Average speeds are based on speed available to at least 50% of customers at peak time (8-10pm). Actual speed will be dependent on location, phone line, home wiring, wi-fi connection and time of day. Customers can check their estimated speeds at BT.com/speed.

Launched in 2008, BT’s social tariff (BT Basic) is only available to those on the means tested benefits mentioned above, plus those on Universal Credit who receive zero income. The extended eligibility of BT Home Essentials means people on Universal Credit who also earn money can also take advantage.

Alternative industry social tariff available UK-wide:

The below details are available online and are accurate as of 29 April 2020

Social Tariff



Virgin Media Essential Broadband

Launched in November 2020. It’s £15 a month for average speeds of 15 Mbps fibre broadband and does not include phone and TV.

It’s only for existing Virgin Media customers on Universal Credit

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 2020, BT Group’s reported revenue was £22,905m with reported profit before taxation of £2,353m.

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