Openreach van

Openreach offers free broadband connection for UC claimants

It’s part of a bid to ‘connect the unconnected’ and could get millions of low-income households online

At Quids in! we’re always banging the drum for being online to access the best deals and manage our money more easily.

Getting set up can be too expensive though – according to a report from Ofcom there are millions of us who just can’t afford it.

But now telecoms firm Openreach is trying to ‘connect the unconnected’ with an offer to scrap set-up fees for people on Universal Credit who have no other earnings.

It’s thought about a million people could be eligible, each saving a hefty £92 on the cost of installation, which will be passed on from our broadband provider.

Openreach said the move will either reduce the upfront costs of getting online or reduce the payments over the length of the contract.

And many broadband providers also have special offers if we receive benefits – check out the deals here.

Getting the best from broadband

Nine in 10 of us now use the internet at least once a week and the number of companies providing broadband in Britain is huge, so it pays to shop around.

Comparison sites can be really useful but are also daunting for some of us, so read through this guide before getting started.

If we can work out what we think we’ll use the internet for, that can help us choose the best deal. For example, if we’re going to be streaming music and TV we’ll need a fast speed. If we might be moving house in the next year we should take out a shorter contract.

Finding the right equipment

If we’re also in the market for a laptop or desktop computer there are some schemes we should look at to see if we can get help, as these devices are pricey.

Get Online @ Home sells cheap refurbished computers to people on benefits or low incomes, or if we’re disabled and a device would help us cope we may be entitled to a grant.

If we’re really lucky we might find a computer that someone is getting rid of on Freecycle or Freegle.

Clean Slate (home to Quids in!) thinks being online is really important, which is why last year we teamed up with Mastercard, Lloyds and The Good Things Foundation for a campaign called Nobody in the Dark to help people reap the rewards of going digital.

Universal Credit and banking are online and since the pandemic, more of us are managing our healthcare online with things like video calls with GPs, ordering prescriptions online and using NHS apps.

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