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DWP to verify low income households’ eligibility for low tariff broadband

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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is to run a system for internet service providers to verify whether customers receive benefits to obtain approval for access to cheaper broadband deals.

The service, which will be applied to individual customers only with their consent, could prove to be a significant step in reducing digital exclusion, and ensuring that more people have easy access to online public services.

DWP said it will minimise the information provided and share nothing other than the confirmation for eligibility at the time of contact.

This follows the government calling on all broadband providers to offer and promote social tariffs for broadband and mobile connectivity for people on universal credit and other benefits.

Low take-up

A joint announcement from DWP, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Prime Minister’s Office said that only 1.2% of those eligible for the deals have so far taken advantage of them.

Virgin Media O2 has declared its support for the scheme and said it will use the system to verify eligible customers for its Essential Broadband tariff.

The government’s cost of living business tsar, David Buttress, said: “Times are tough and families across the country are feeling the pinch, so we’re making it easier for companies to reduce phone and broadband bills for struggling families.

“Some of the biggest network operators have already committed to take advantage of this new scheme and we want to see other providers follow their lead so that everyone eligible for a social tariff can access one.”

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