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Updated: 14 Apr 2022

Sky and Now launch cheap broadband deals with new social tariffs

Couple checking their pension statement

Sky has launched Sky Broadband Basics - a new social tariff aimed at those who might be struggling to pay their bills.

It's the latest provider to join the likes of BT, Virgin Media and Hyperoptic in providing a discounted monthly subscription for customers on low incomes.

Broadband customers of Now, which is owned by Sky, can also benefit from cheaper deals. Read on for more.

Read our reviews of the best and worst broadband providers to see which come out on top.

Who is eligible for Sky and Now Broadband's cheaper tariffs?

To be eligible for Sky Broadband Basics, the Sky account holder needs to be claiming Universal Credit or Pension Credit, and to be named on the Universal or Pension Credit monthly statement. Sky may require proof of this when you enquire.

Currently it's only available to customers who already have Sky Broadband, and still requires these customers to contact Sky to enable the move.

The same requirements apply to existing Now Broadband customers.

Ease the squeeze on your household bills with our cost of living advice and tips.

What do the cheaper packages from Sky and Now Broadband offer?

Sky Broadband Basics costs £20 a month for 18 months, and includes Sky Broadband Superfast 35, a fibre broadband package offering an average download speed of 36 Mbps. This usually costs £25 per month

If fibre broadband isn't available where you live, Sky Broadband's Essential Plus plan, with average speeds of 11 Mbps, can be taken instead.

Both packages include Sky Pay As You Talk - which means you'll need to pay for any phone calls you make.

Now Broadband's new cheaper packages are similar. You can benefit from Now Fan Fibre membership for £20 a month, with average speeds of 36 Mbps (usually £25). This doesn't include a call plan either, so you'll need to pay for any calls made from a home phone.

If you're out of contract, it's definitely worth shopping around to see how much you could save. Browse all the best broadband deals in your area with Which? Switch.

How do I apply for one of Sky or Now's new tariffs?

In both cases you'll need to contact your provider to explain your situation. They should outline next steps and key dates for when you can switch to the lower priced tariff, if you qualify.

What if my circumstances change and I'm no longer eligible?

This is where the two providers differ slightly. With Sky, you're signing up to a new 18-month contract. However, there won't be any early termination charges if you do need to leave before this period ends. Once the 18 month contract is up, the price will go back up to the standard rate.

With Now Broadband, you'll be entering an ongoing monthly contract, and will need to give it 31 days notice if you want to cancel, to avoid any early termination charges.

Why broadband providers need to do more to advertise cheaper deals

Back in February, Ofcom called on broadband providers to do more to publicise social tariffs, after finding that just 55,000 eligible households out of around 4.2 million had signed up.

It has also called on more providers to offer a social tariff to customers. Before Sky and Now's announcement, just six broadband providers - BT, Community Fibre, G.Network, Hyperoptic, KCOM and Virgin Media O2 - offered at least one discounted deal, though TalkTalk offers six months of free broadband to certain jobseekers

These social tariffs can cost as little as £10 per month.

Eligibility criteria varies but is usually based on factors such as income support, universal or pension credit, job-seekers allowance and other factors.

The table below lists the social tariffs currently available from providers. For more information about the package and eligibility, click the link in the table below.

ProductPriceAverage speedEligibility
BT Home Essentials£15 a month36 MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)
BT Home Essentials 2£20 a month67 MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)
Community Fibre£10 a month10 MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)
G.Network Essential Fibre Broadband£15 a month50 MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)
Hyperoptic Fair Fibre 50£15 a month50 MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)
KCOM Full Fibre Flex£19.99 a month30 MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)
Virgin Media Essential Broadband£15 a month15 MbpsUniversal Credit

Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said:

'During the cost of living crisis, it's positive to see Sky and NOW launch social tariff broadband deals for households claiming Universal or Pension Credit. Providers should properly publicise social tariffs to customers to ensure that anyone who's eligible is aware of and able to easily take up social tariff deals.

'We would encourage any providers who don't currently offer social tariffs to consider whether they can offer further support to their most financially vulnerable customers.