Virgin Media O2 to contact all five million customers about social tariffs

Virgin Media O2 is contacting all five million of its broadband, landline and TV customers to ensure low-income households are aware of bill support available to them over Christmas.

The telecoms giant said it will include information about its social tariff offers in its monthly bills for December.

Social tariffs are discounted packages for services aimed at low-income households, including those receiving a range of benefits, with the aim of making those services more accessible to people no matter their financial situation.

The company said the move to contact all its broadband, TV and landline customers is an industry first.

It said it is also working with a number of local authority partners, including Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Slough Borough Council, Bradford Council and Telford & Wrekin Council, to use their local knowledge to further boost the availability of cost-of-living support through their community channels and networks.

In addition, the telecoms firm is calling on the Government to cut VAT on social tariffs from 20% to no more than 5%, in line with other essential items.

Virgin Media O2 chief operations officer Rob Orr said: “Having pioneered one of the first broadband social tariffs back in 2020, we know the difference that affordable connectivity can make to people’s lives and we’ve continued to step up to provide support.

“To go further once again, we’re boosting our awareness raising efforts to spread the word about the support measures we’ve put in place.

“Whether that’s through information on customers’ monthly bills or our collaboration with local authorities across the UK, millions more people will be regularly reminded about our Essential Broadband packages which offer cut-price broadband and entertainment for those facing financial difficulty.

“While we have regularly increased the support on offer, we won’t solve digital exclusion alone, which is why we’re reiterating our call on Government to update its nine-year-old digital inclusion strategy and cut VAT on social tariffs to further help those who need it.”

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has previously urged providers to do more to promote their social tariff offers, revealing earlier this year that more than half of low-income households do not know about cheaper broadband and phone deals.

A report it published in April also found that just 5% of eligible households have signed up to a discounted package which offers superfast broadband speeds from as little as £12 a month.