Virgin Media O2 will address the broadband “crisis” by providing free internet connection to tens of thousands of people.
VIRGIN Media O2 is offering a new incentive that will assist thousands of people in gaining critical internet connection.
We don’t think of the internet as a critical service, but it has helped many of us get through the last 18 months thanks to Netflix, FaceTime calls, online work, and study. Many others, however, cannot afford mobile data or broadband, with the typical family’s broadband subscription now at £328 per year.
In fact, up to seven million individuals in the UK are unable to use the internet at home. These “digitally excluded” people may find it difficult to participate in ordinary activities such as looking for employment, interacting with friends and family, or taking online classes as life becomes increasingly online.
To address the issue, Virgin Media O2 has teamed with the Good Things Foundation, a digital skills organization, to develop the first-ever National Databank. According to the charity, the “foodbank for data” would provide free mobile data to thousands of people living in digital poverty, which is defined as when a person cannot afford a secure internet connection that fits their needs.
Virgin is kicking off the initiative by donating 7.5 million GB of O2 mobile data worth £12.5 million, which is equivalent to 319 million hours of internet use. By the end of 2023, they hope to have assisted over 200,000 people in getting online.
“Having enough data in our increasingly digital society is not a nice to have, it’s an absolute essential,” said Helen Milner, founder of the Good Things Foundation. You can’t save money on products and services, let your children participate in home-learning, or apply for employment if you aren’t online…
“Now is the time for us to band together and finally confront the issue of data poverty in the UK.”
The Databank is now being tested with a small set of organizations before being made available to the general public in November. The free data will be distributed through a network of 5,000 community organizations across the UK in the form of data vouchers and SIM cards. People will be able to receive digital skills training to help them learn how to navigate the internet world.
“The pandemic has exacerbated the UK’s data poverty crisis like never before – and with many millions of people facing digital exclusion, now is the.”Brinkwire Summary News,” said Lutz Schüler, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Media O2.