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Lockdown internet access

With another lockdown upon us, many people are finding it hard, once again, to access the internet for teaching and for work. With this in mind lots of companies have stepped up to offer support.

In this post we are going to keep an ongoing record of the support that is available:

Social tariffs from internet service providers

ProviderName of packageWho’s eligibleFeatures and current priceLink
BTBT BasicIncome Support Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance Pensions Credit (Guaranteed Credit) Employment and Support Allowance (Income related) Universal Credit (and are on zero earnings)  Phone and broadband
As well as getting free weekend calls (up to sixty minutes duration) to 0845 and 0870 numbers, it comes with a call allowance of £1.50 and a £10 monthly price cap.
Data is capped (although this has been removed during COVID)
How do I find out more about BT Basic? | BT Help
Virgin MediaVM Essential broadbandUC claimantsNo contract
Fixed price
15 mbps
£15 per month
Virgin Media broadband for Universal Credit claimants – broadbandchoices.co.uk

Other options are well explained here – Broadband for Those on Benefits – Go Compare

Free internet access through schools – BT lockdown learning support

Get more data from selected mobile providers during the pandemic

DfE is working in partnership with mobile network operators to help schools support disadvantaged pupils in years 3 to 11 who rely on a mobile internet connection when their face-to-face education is disrupted by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Disadvantaged families may be able to benefit from free increases from their mobile provider – find out more


The pandemic data offers for disadvantaged people from mobile companies vary (both who’s eligible and what they get – so people should contact their mobile service provider to see what’s available:

  • Companies participating in the DFE schemeso far are: EE, O2, Sky Mobile, SMARTY, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone

This article provides a summary of what’s being offered by the mobile providers.  It should be noted that the scheme is for families with disadvantaged children (3 to 11), rather than people on benefits. 

Tethering devices to a phone

Rather than reinvent the wheel – the process for Android and IOS phones is described here:

Tethering Guide | How To Tether Android, iPhone & more (broadbandgenie.co.uk)

  • You need to check that your mobile provider permits tethering (most do)
  • You need to be careful that you respect data limits to avoid additional charges

Basic low cost phone calls for people on benefits.