This new tool makes it easier to apply for social broadband tariffs

Fibre broadband deals
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The UK Government has released a new tool that will allow broadband operators to automatically verify whether a customer is eligible to receive a social tariff.

Several operators offer discounted deals to any household in receipt of universal credit, but there has been criticism that many potential beneficiaries are either unaware these exist or find it too difficult to apply for.

Many providers now actively promote their social tariffs and the new tool, which will be run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should speed up the process significantly. However, campaigners say more needs to be done.

Social broadband tool

A report published by regulator Ofcom earlier this year suggested that 84% of eligible households knew about social tariffs, while 1.1 million households (5% of the UK) struggle to afford their broadband service, a figure which rises to one in ten among the lowest income households.

These figures could have increased as the cost-of-living in the UK continues to rise.

“It’s more important than ever that people get the financial support available to them, including cheaper broadband for benefit claimants, and this change makes these social tariffs even easier to access,” said Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffee.

“I’d like to thank those providers leading the way in moving customers over to discount rates, and I encourage others to follow suit to help millions of households to cut bills.”

Other initiatives from the telecoms industry include the creation of a national data bank and free SIM cards for those most in need. Which? has urged the government to reduce VAT on mobile and broadband services, bringing the sector in line with other industries.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.