Openreach waives superfast broadband connection fees for low-income households
Openreach will waive connection fees for access to its superfast broadband network for those who receive Universal Credit with no other earnings.
The BT-owned firm said new eligible customers from October 5 could save up to £92 for installation charges, but it will be up to their provider to pass on the savings.
Openreach manages the telephone cables, ducts, cabinets and exchanges that connect much of the UK, which companies including Sky and TalkTalk use for their own broadband customers.
It is estimated that around one million people throughout the country could benefit.
The move comes after Ofcom recently highlighted affordability as a barrier for some households, meaning people not online “are likely to experience the greatest harm”.
A report by the regulator stated that a good broadband connection can provide “better access to education and employment opportunities, as well as wider benefits such as social inclusion”.
Digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman welcomed the announcement, saying: “We have been working closely with Openreach and the wider sector to build a broadband market where cost is not a constraint to getting online.
“This welcome step will help people struggling with bills access the connectivity they need to thrive in today’s digital age.”
Connection providers usually take the charge and factor it into their own product and service prices.
Openreach said firms could pass on the saving by making it cheaper for low-income households to get online upfront or over the course of their contract term.
Katie Milligan, Openreach’s managing director for customer, commercial and propositions, said: “We hope this offer complements the range of existing support from providers across the industry and helps people who aren’t already online to start benefiting from the wealth of information, connectivity and opportunities that great broadband can deliver.”