16 November 2020
Virgin Media has today launched its new Essential broadband service which offers reliable, affordable and hassle-free connectivity to those facing financial difficulty and receiving Universal Credit.
Whether it’s keeping in touch with friends and loved ones, online shopping or completing job applications and attending virtual interviews, the broadband-only plan will help customers to stay connected and carry out a variety of online activities.
Virgin Media’s Essential broadband has a speed of 15Mbps and a fixed price of £15 per month. The plan has no fixed-term contract length and no price changes while Universal Credit payments are being received.
Essential broadband applications now open
Existing customers can apply for the plan by completing a form via our website, www.virginmedia.com/essential. They will later receive an email asking them to provide proof of their Universal Credit status by sending a picture of their online Universal Credit account.
Eligible customers will then receive confirmation that their application has been successful before they are moved onto the plan.
Supporting our vulnerable customers
The introduction of this new product is the latest initiative from Virgin Media following previous proactive steps designed to help and support vulnerable customers.
Last year Virgin Media was the first provider to announce measures that help overcome some of the obstacles that vulnerable customers can face in the marketplace. This included introducing annual package reviews, more flexible bill management through a specialist team and bespoke engineer visits. In 2016, the provider introduced its Talk Protected phone-only plan. This gave those customers over the age of 65 or those with additional accessibility needs a fixed-price home phone plan, with inclusive evening and weekend calls to UK landlines and mobiles alongside other benefits.
Virgin Media has also taken action during the Covid crisis to give customers the connectivity, data, entertainment and flexibility needed. This included providing 10GB of mobile data at no extra cost; introducing more kids and entertainment programming; removing data caps on any broadband plans that still had them, and giving customers more flexibility over their services such as the ability to temporarily pause sports subscriptions when live events were suspended.
Jeff Dodds, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media, said:
“The launch of our Essential broadband service is about supporting customers who are experiencing financial difficulty and uncertainty. We all know how important connectivity is right now to our day to day lives, so this reliable, hassle-free service will help people to get online and carry out essential activities.
“This is the latest step in a series of industry-leading measures we have introduced for vulnerable customers. This includes providing annual package reviews, more flexible bill management and is on top of action we have taken to keep our customers connected during the pandemic.
“We are committed to supporting our customers and will continue to play our vital role in keeping the country connected in these difficult times.”
Universal credit recipients increase
The latest official figures show that there were 5.7 million people on Universal Credit as of 8 October 2020 – which is an increase of 2% from September 2020. Of those, 39% of claimants were in the ‘searching for work’ conditionality group.
Virgin Media’s network passes 15.2 million premises which is more than half of the UK.
Notes to editors
Virgin Media’s Essential broadband operates on a 30 day rolling contract basis
During the online application process, customers will be asked to provide proof of their Universal Credit status by providing a picture of their online Universal Credit account.
If a customer stops receiving Universal Credit they will be able to continue taking the Essential broadband service at £23 per month or move to another Virgin Media package.
Latest Universal Credit Statistics from the Department for Work & Pensions can be found here (last published on 10 November 2020):