The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Why trust us?

Broadband for pensioners

Looking for cheap broadband? Compare prices from top providers and get a great deal

Having a broadband connection has become a necessity. But with rising costs, pensioners may be feeling the pinch. Fortunately, there are a few options available that can reduce the cost of broadband for pensioners.

We’ve found ways for older people to save money on broadband, as well as some affordable deals to compare.

What are the best broadband deals for pensioners?

The best broadband deal for you depends on your specific needs. You’ll want to consider which broadband speed suits your internet activities. Since it’s unlikely that you’ll be working from home if you’re a pensioner, you have the luxury of choosing lower-speed broadband deals that cost less.

Here are some of the best deals for pensioners:

BT

BT Home Essentials is available for people receiving certain benefits, such as Pension Credit. This plan is for low-income households and offers fast broadband at an affordable price.

There are two deals available for pensioners:

  • BT Home Essentials Unlimited 36Mbps: £20 per month, 12-month contract and unlimited UK calls
  • BT Home Essentials Unlimited 67Mbps: £23 per month, 12-month contract and unlimited UK calls

You can cancel either plan at any time without early exit fees. If you’re looking for a call-only plan, there’s an optional home phone plan available.

NOW Broadband

NOW’s Basics deal costs just £20 and gives customers access to NOW’s Fab Fibre package (usually priced at £35.50 per month), which offers an average download speed of 36Mbps. The deal also comes with NOW Calls at no extra cost – meaning you only pay for the calls you make. To be eligible, you must be receiving at least one benefit, such as Pension Credit.

Sky

Sky Basics is essentially Sky’s Superfast 35 deal, but at the more affordable £20 per month. The contract runs for 18 months, but you’re free to leave at any time without paying exit fees. Sky Basics is available to those who are receiving Pension Credit or one of the other required benefits and offers an average download speed of 36Mbps. The plan also comes with Sky Pay As You Talk at no extra cost.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media offers three essential broadband deals:

  • Essential Broadband: £12.50 per month, 15Mbps average speed, 30-day rolling contract
  • Essential Broadband Plus: £20 per month, 54Mbps average speed, 30-day rolling contract
  • Essential Broadband Plus with Stream: £20 per month, 54Mbps average speed, 30-day rolling contract, stream box with £20 set-up fee

To qualify for any of Virgin Media’s low-income deals, you need to be receiving certain benefits – one of which may be Pension Credit.

Are there specific broadband deals for pensioners?

While there are no specific broadband deals for pensioners, there are low-cost options available.

Broadband social tariffs are available to eligible low-income households, including those who receive Pension Credit. Some providers offering social tariffs include Sky, Vodafone, Virgin Media and BT.

Each social tariff deal will usually specify the eligibility requirements. Typically, deals are available for households that receive certain benefits, such as Income support, Universal Credit or Pension Credit.

In addition to access to cheaper broadband deals, elderly customers may also be offered other benefits. Some providers, including Sky, BT and Virgin Media, offer these additional benefits for vulnerable customers:

  • Option for friends or family members to manage their accounts
  • Access to cheaper prices upon renewal
  • Priority repairs if there’s a fault on the network

How to choose a broadband deal for pensioners

Before comparing broadband deals, it makes sense to know what your broadband needs are. Here are some of the things that elderly people might want from their broadband plan:

Speed

If there’s only one or two of you living in your home, you most likely won’t need the fastest broadband speed available. Your speed requirement depends on your internet activities. For browsing, using apps and sending emails, you could choose an asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) package, which provides an average speed of 10 to 11Mbps.

If you’ll be using streaming platforms, such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer, a fibre-optic deal would be better suited. Fibre broadband offers average speeds of 30Mbps or more and is widely available across the UK.

Price

As a general rule of thumb, the slower your broadband speed, the less expensive your package will be. ADSL broadband deals will cost less than basic fibre-optic broadband, but the difference in cost is minimal. If you’re looking for a no-frills fibre-optic broadband, NOW, Plusnet, Shell Energy and Community Fibre all offer low-cost fibre deals.

See which broadband deals are available in your area by using our postcode checker.

Bundling

You could bundle services together through your broadband provider. If you watch a lot of live TV, a broadband and TV deal could save you money. Sky and BT offer comprehensive broadband and TV deals with Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and TNT Sports channels. Some TV deals also include a free Netflix plan and options to pause, rewind and record live TV.

You may also want to consider a broadband and phone deal, especially if you make and receive calls via your landline.

icons8-phone-96

Most providers offer broadband and phone deals. Here’s what to consider when choosing the right phone package for you: 

  • Pay-as-you-go rate: usually included as standard, this feature allows you to pay per minute for your calls
  • Evening and weekend UK calls: you have a set number of free minutes to use at certain times on weekdays and weekends
  • Unlimited UK calls: you can call any UK number for free, anytime – packages may come with a minutes allowance
  • International calls: you have a set number of minutes to call international numbers – usually an add-on service to the above

Broadband for pensioners FAQs

Before you sign a broadband contract, most providers will carry out a soft credit check. However, not all providers require you to pass a check to sign up for their service – Plusnet and NOW offer broadband with no credit checks.

Most social tariffs require you to receive certain benefits, one of which may be Pension Credit. To apply for a social tariff, you would usually need to do this via the provider’s website. When applying through the website, you’ll be asked questions about yourself, your address and which benefit(s) you receive. You’ll also need to give permission for the provider to obtain information about you from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Unfortunately, there are currently no free broadband deals for pensioners. However, there are ways for pensioners to get cheaper deals by signing up for a social tariff. A social tariff is available for low-income customers receiving certain benefits, such as Pension Credit. Many of the big providers, including Sky, BT, Virgin Media, NOW Broadband and Vodafone, offer social tariff deals.

rachel

Rachel Sadler

Home Tech Writer

Rachel is a seasoned writer who has been producing online and print content for seven years. 

As a home tech expert for Independent Advisor, Rachel researches and writes buying guides and reviews, helping consumers navigate the realms of broadband and home security gadgets. She also covers home tech for The Federation of Master Builders, where she reviews and tests home security devices. 

She started as a news and lifestyle journalist in Hong Kong reporting on island-wide news stories, food and drink and the city’s events. She’s written for editorial platforms Sassy Hong Kong, Localiiz and Bay Media. While in Hong Kong she attended PR events, interviewed local talent and project-managed photoshoots. 

Rachel holds a BA in English Language and Creative Writing and is committed to simplifying tech jargon and producing unbiased reviews.

Molly Dyson

Editor

After growing up with a passion for writing, Molly studied journalism and creative writing at university in her home country of the United States.

She has written for a variety of print and online publications, from small town newspapers to international magazines. Most of her 10-year career since relocating to the UK has been spent in business journalism, writing and editing for admin professionals at PA Life magazine and business travel managers at Business Travel News Europe and representing those titles at conferences around the world.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Molly is an expert in a broad range of consumer topics, that include solar panels and renewables, home improvements and home insurance, and consumer technology such as home security and VPNs.

In her free time, Molly can usually be found exploring the outdoors with her husband and their young son or gardening.