BT v Virgin Media – which budget broadband is best?
There is a new and much cheaper way to access the internet. After initially announcing plans in May, BT has now officially launched its latest Home Essentials plan which offers download speeds of around 67Mbps for just £15 a month.
This offer is available to anyone claiming Universal Credit or Pension Credit and is intended to give more people access to fast broadband.
Besides the budget price tag, another bonus of this plan is that there is no long-term contract to sign. BT usually asks customers to agree to a two-year deal, but that’s not the case with Home Essentials, where those who are accepted only need to stay with BT for 12 months.
To apply, BT says users simply need to enter their zip code, choose a plan, and then verify eligibility through their Social Security number.
Once accepted, they will get this discounted internet for 12 months before BT contacts them to see if they are still eligible for the discount.
In addition to those 67 Mbps downloads, Home Essentials broadband also offers guaranteed speeds, the latest Wi-Fi hub, unlimited downloads, and enhanced security.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division, said of the new plans: “Fast, reliable connectivity has never been more important than today, with millions of people relying on our networks to get back on their feet after the pandemic.
“We want to help as many people as possible, so we’re launching BT Home Essentials at the end of June, making us more eligible for our social rate so that all customers can be included on Universal Credit.
“BT Home Essentials will be available at half the price of our standard fiber package, helping a potential four million low-income households save on bills and stay connected to essential online services.”
So how does this Home Essentials plan compare to Virgin Media?
Virgin Media first launched its £15 Essential broadband plan last year with the promise of lower prices, no long-term contract and no annual price increases. It is available to Virgin customers with Universal Credit and offers speeds of 15 Mbps with no limit on how much you can download. As a guideline, with a 15 Mbps connection, you can download a full HD blockbuster in about 20 minutes.
That’s not as fast as what BT offers, but Virgin allows users to sign a rolling 30-day contract, meaning they can leave at any time or upgrade back to faster speeds once it becomes affordable again.
One thing to note is that Virgin’s Essential plan does not include landline, calls or TV. This is just broadband for a lower price.
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