Virgin Media O2 has made its discounted broadband social tariffs more accessible to people across the UK after streamlining its sign-up process and expanding eligibility.

To help those struggling with bills and the cost-of-living crisis, Virgin Media O2 has increased access to its cheapest broadband packages – Essential Broadband and Essential Broadband plus.

Anyone receiving income support from ESA, JSA, pension credit, and universal credit will be able to pay as little as £12.50 per month for 15Mb speeds.

The social tariffs are available to both new and existing customers.

Virgin Media O2 has decided to widen the list of qualifying benefits in reaction to growing criticism from industry experts about the soaring cost of broadband services.

Previously, only customers on universal credit could sign up for the essential plans.

Virgin Media O2 is now one of the most affordable providers, though the entry-level speeds are among the slowest.

BT, for example, offers a £15-per-month service with speeds of up to 36Mb.

Another advantage of joining Virgin Media O2 right now is the ease with which new customers can sign up for social tariffs.

All that is required is a brief online chat and an automatic eligibility check with the Department for Work and Pensions.

After confirmation, Virgin Media O2 then sets customers up on discounted deals.

Current customers can also take up the tariffs and will not have to pay exit fees to switch to a cheaper rate during contracts.