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WightFibre Highlights its 100Mbps Essential Broadband Social Tariff

Saturday, Oct 22nd, 2022 (8:39 am) - Score 840
WightFibre-EV-Car-Kia

Broadband ISP WightFibre, which operates a full fibre (FTTP) network across the Isle of Wight – just off the South Coast of Hampshire in England, has revealed that it too has a social tariff for those on benefits, which will give you an unlimited 100Mbps (symmetric) speed for just £16.50 per month with a PAYG phone service (usually £24.95).

The provider claims that their ‘Essential Broadband‘ tariff has actually been “available for some time“, although this is the first time we’ve heard about it and Ofcom has never mentioned it before either. As such, we assume that Wight Fibre, like so many other ISPs, has not been terribly effective at actively promoting the existence of such plans. We certainly couldn’t see any obvious promotion on their main website or product pages (excluding the related press release).

WightFibre has also said they’re the “first [ISP] to implement” the new service run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which allows them to verify – with a customers’ permission – that they are in receipt of Universal or Pension Credit and therefore eligible for the social tariff. We had thought that Virgin Media (VMO2) were the first, but they were just the first to mention it, rather than actively use it.

WightFibre CEO, John Irvine, said:

“WightFibre’s ‘because we care’ ethos means we are committed to making full-fibre broadband available to all sections of our Island community not just to those who can afford it. Our Essential Broadband Package is no slimmed down offering. It is exactly the same package as our Residential Full-Fibre 100/100 package.”

The provider states that their package is on a monthly rolling contract with no minimum commitment. “Anyone on Universal or Pension Credit can apply through our Online Order process on www.wightfibre.com/order or by calling our friendly Island-based Sales team on 01983 240 240,” states the announcement. But when we ran a quick check, the online ordering system only gave us a choice of their regular plans.

We’ve now added WightFibre’s new package to our Summary of UK Social Broadband and Mobile Tariffs.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
8 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Ell says:

    They do hold a record though for being the first operator to make available a broadband package for speeds faster then 78Mbps for those on benefits.

  2. Avatar photo AQX says:

    These social tariffs seem to be simply just marketing ploys. Most of these don’t allow a recipient of JSA, Income Support and other benefits despite all of these transferring to Universal Credit in the next few years.
    There shouldn’t be any restriction behind these other than being unemployed and in receipt of benefits, instead it’s universal credit or nothing.

    1. Avatar photo Iain says:

      Good point. But to be fair to Vodafone, their Essentials tariff is for those in receipt of Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, or Personal Independence Payment.

      However, Wightfibre Essentials is available for those in support of Pension Credit, but Vodafone Essentials is not.

      Finally, it’s worth noting 40% of people claiming Universal Credit are employed; however, they are unfortunately underemployed or badly paid.

    2. Avatar photo John Irvine` says:

      The DWP eligibility checker limits the range of benefits which can be checked online so not all benefits can be checked.

  3. Avatar photo John Irvine says:

    Mark, That’s a bit harsh. WightFibre has had our social tariff available since late 2021 but in common with most ISPs we did not heavily promote this – hence why no previous press release. We are now committed to actively promoting our social tarrif – and note it is no slimmed now offering and includes a free telephone line.

    More importantly, if you read your previous story you will see that VMO2 say they “will use” the DWP interface – not that they already are. DWP agree with us that we are the first – they have approved the press release and approved it with a quote from the Secretary of State.

    Might I persuade you to make some edits? I don’t mind criticism when we have got something wrong but, in this case, I don’t think we have.

    More generally on social tariffs: broadband as a utility is one of the least expensive utilities and does not attract a usage charge. I think Ofcom’s focus on this is misplaced. VF’s social tariff is now less than their wholesale price and the wholesale rate charged by BT Openreach. How is that sustainable? Luckily at WightFibre we don’t use BT Openreach but what are all the other ISPs who do supposed to do?

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Agreed on the DWP bit John and I’ve made an edit. But just to be clear, the product itself is great, there’s no complaint about that.

      However, on the promotion side, this is still a BIG issue. Ofcom have been raising the poor promotion issue since last year and, even to this day, WightFibre has not appeared on any of the regulator’s own official social tariff lists:

      https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/costs-and-billing/social-tariffs

      This is important because there’s a risk that Ofcom will force a much stricter regulated tariff upon the industry unless ISPs do more. So, it’s great that WightFibre has one, but it needs better signposting on your website – consumers shouldn’t have to start an order before being able to find out that one even exists or what it actually offers.

    2. Avatar photo John Irvine says:

      Thankyou Mark. Didn’t even know this list existed. We’ll endeavour to get on the list.

  4. Avatar photo John Irvine says:

    On your comment on WightFibre’s online ordering process: At checkout, customers who have ordered our 100Mb/100Mb service are offered the discounted tariff. The eligibility check is then made in real-time with the DWP and approved accordingly. Potential new customers are advised of this by mail/email shots. Existing customers are also advised my email but must call us pending availability of our customer portal.

Comments are closed

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