Here’s how the new service works – including details on how much it will cost.
How much will it cost per month?
The service for those receiving Universal Credit, will cost £15 per month and have no fixed-term contract length.
How fast will the internet speeds be?
Customers will receive a limited speed of 15 Mbps, designed to help the most vulnerable stay online and apply for jobs during uncertain times.
People taking up the broadband-only plan will have to provide proof of their Universal Credit status.
When will Virgin Media’s new service launch?
Virgin Media Essential Broadband will be available from the autumn, initially for the company’s existing customers. A date as to when it will launch has yet to be confirmed.
What will happen when those on Universal Credit move off the system?
When the account holder is no longer receiving Universal Credit they can continue using the service at £23 per month or move to another package, the firm said.
What have Virgin Media said?
Chief operating officer Jeff Dodds said: “We know that these are tough times and that there are many people finding it more difficult to make ends meet and facing financial uncertainty.
“At the same time, the role of broadband in helping people to stay connected has never been clearer.
“Whether it’s keeping in touch with friends and family, finding advice and support or searching for jobs and working remotely – broadband underpins it all.
“With this all in mind, we wanted to make sure that those customers receiving benefit payments were able to access reliable, hassle-free connectivity with enough speed to carry out essential online activities.”
The move comes amid mounting warnings of mass unemployment when the Government’s worker furlough scheme comes to an end in October.
Thousands of jobs claimed or put under threat since national lockdown
According to recent figures compiled by the PA news agency, the pandemic has already claimed or put under threat more than 41,000 UK jobs in retail alone since the lockdown in late March.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: “I want to see continued efforts to protect consumers beyond the pandemic and welcome Virgin Media offering a permanent package giving vulnerable and low-income families the flexibility to continue to benefit from reliable connectivity.”
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