A Hull internet and phone company has announced plans to cut its social tariff rate to help people struggling with the cost of living.
KCOM will reduce its Flex Tariff by 25% from June 1, from £19.99 to £14.99 per month. It will also move fare inquiries online with a system designed to let customers know if they qualify for the cheapest fare in minutes.
Nadine Dorries, the government’s digital secretary, called KCOM “fantastic”. KCOM, which dominates broadband services in Hull, offers a download speed of 30 Mbps in its flexible tariff as well as 20 local calls and 60 minutes of calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers.
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The new online system will be able to tell customers whether they are eligible for the tariff within minutes, reducing the wait for a response from the old system by up to four weeks. KCOM worked with PrinSIX to create an online system to verify candidate eligibility.
On its website, KCOM states that people who receive the following benefits are eligible for its Flex plans:
- Income support
- Pension credit
- Job search allowance
- Housing allowance
- Payment for personal independence
- Attendance allowance
- Universal credit, with zero income
- Care home residents and Lifeline clients who are referred to us through social services
- Care leavers
- Employment and Support Allowance (EAS)
Tim Shaw, Managing Director of KCOM, said: “With so many people struggling with the cost of living at this time, we are committed to helping our customers stay in control of their family budget.
“By moving our Flex application online by leveraging Open Banking developments, we are making it easier and faster for our customers to accept our Flex social tariff. And by reducing the price of our tariff, we are also reinforcing our commitment to ensure everyone has access to reliable, high-quality broadband.
“Never has it been more important for our customers to have access to everything that matters to them online, whether it’s working, doing homework, staying in touch with friends or family. , or just being able to pay bills or make appointments.”
Earlier this year, the broadband company also dropped its annual consumer price index (CPI) plus 3.9% increase, to reduce costs for customers. In 2021, nearly 147,000 customers used the company, formerly a municipal entity before its IPO and then its takeover in 2019.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries praised the decision to cut the social tariff by 25%, commenting: “We have called on broadband providers to do more to help cope with the global rise in the cost of life and it’s great to see KCOM lowering prices and helping families change and save faster.
“Following our discussions with telecom companies, many have launched new social tariff agreements. Social tariffs are an easy way for those in need to save up to hundreds of pounds on their broadband bills , but we know that less than two percent of eligible people took them.
“This means that only around 55,000 of the nearly five million eligible households are getting cheaper broadband. We are working with broadband companies asking them to do more to raise awareness of their social tariffs and I am glad that KCOM is fully on board and following our calls.”
KCOM’s flexible rate options are only available to benefit recipients, care leavers, nursing home residents and Lifeline customers referred to the company by social services, and individuals on the government list of patients protected by Covid-19 until they no longer have to practice social protection. More information about the company’s flexible pricing can be found here.