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Choosing broadband for older people

With getting online becoming increasingly vital to everyday life, knowing that your older relative or friends are getting a good deal from their broadband is important for peace of mind, as well as the bank balance.

Utility company Uswitch carried out a survey of the over 55s, and found that actually many users aren’t switching to different providers because they are already satisfied with the service they are receiving.

On the other hand, some are concerned about the disruption that switching might cause.

However, nearly 2 in 5 older consumers said they felt overwhelmed or confused when considering switching broadband providers, and of the over 70s, more than 60% said they were overwhelmed when trying to understand different broadband packages.

Provider support for older people

To address these challenges and other questions, Uswitch has created some tips and FAQs for older and vulnerable customers who would like to compare offerings and achieve the best value for their needs.

​​Can pensioners get social tariff broadband?

Social tariff broadband isn’t available to all pensioners. To be eligible, individuals must be actively receiving Pension Credit, often called Guarantee Credit. This entails meeting both the age requirement for pension eligibility and the criteria for a low-income household.

How do broadband providers help accommodate vulnerable/older customers?

You should find that UK broadband providers offer specialised customer support, simplified billing, discounted packages, and prioritised service restoration during outages. They should also provide resources like online safety guides for enhanced accessibility.

  • Simplified billing processes and clear pricing structures should be provided, with options for paper billing and simplified payment methods. Providers should ensure that older customers understand their bills and payment options.
  • Offering priority support queues or expedited assistance for older and vulnerable customers should ensure that their inquiries and issues are addressed promptly and with care.
  • Providers are likely to offer in-home technical support for setup, troubleshooting, and basic training on internet services, often at reduced rates for eligible customers.

Helping older family or friends to buy the right broadband

Buying broadband for an older or vulnerable customer involves considering their specific needs and providing assistance where necessary.

You can help an older relative or friend by:

  • Assessing internet usage needs: Do they need basic browsing, email access, or streaming services? Consider factors like speed, data limits, and reliability.
  • Simplifying options: Explain broadband packages in simple terms, avoiding technical jargon. Highlight features such as unlimited data, easy installation, and reliable customer support.
  • Assist with research: Help them research broadband providers and packages. Compare prices, contract lengths, and customer reviews to find the best option.
  • Assist with ordering: If they’re comfortable, assist them in placing the order online or over the phone. Provide guidance on filling out forms and selecting appropriate options.
  • Installation support: Coordinate installation with the broadband provider. If necessary, arrange for a technician to assist with setup and installation of equipment.
  • Security awareness: Educate them about online safety and security measures to protect against scams, phishing, and malware.

Maintaining secure day-to-day internet use

Uswitch broadband expert, Max Beckett offers additional tips for older users themselves to help them optimise their broadband use:

  • Keep it simple: Choose passwords that are easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess. Consider using phrases or combinations of words that hold personal significance.
  • Stay alert: When browsing online, always check for “https://” and a padlock icon in the address bar to ensure you’re on a secure website. This indicates that your connection is encrypted.
  • Ask for help: Asking for advice is a smart move when choosing a broadband package. Whether it’s from friends, family, or the customer service team of the broadband provider, seeking guidance can help you make an informed decision that meets your needs.

Image Getty Images on Unsplash

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