Survey: 7.1m Brits missing out on free broadband

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Comparison site Compare Fibre reports that 57.4 per cent of lower-income households in the UK (some 7.1 million people) have not taken up, and are unaware of the help on offer to assist with maintaining connectivity under the lockdown.

This includes:

  • Free Wi-Fi vouchers to 5 million hotspots are available through the BT website. You do not need to be a BT customer
  • Government ‘Get Help With Tech’ scheme offers increased mobile data from EE, O2, Sky Mobile, SMARTY, Tesco Mobile, Three and Virgin Mobile, as well as free 4G routers
  • Vodafone offers 350,000 students free 30Gb data sim cards

A simple postcode search using the Compare Fibre website enables users to discover coronavirus support packages for broadband.

“There is support on offer, but we need to go further,” asserts Nathan Hill-Haimes, Co-Founder Compare Fibre. “It is so sad that lower-income families are choosing between feeding their families and paying broadband bills. Before home-schooling, broadband was as a luxury, but now it’s a necessity. Access to learning is a human right; we have to help more.”

“The importance that an Internet connection plays in children’s education is not diminished, just because a lockdown ends. If anything, it becomes more important to those left behind that now need to catch up.”

“It is excellent that there is free broadband on offer. Our broader concern is what happens once the pandemic is over. That’s why we’re calling for a long-term solution in the form of means-tested broadband,” he concludes.

Compare Fibre found that the families most in need struggle to understand and take up broadband support on offer during coronavirus. With schools shut, households rely more than ever on an Internet connection as children learn from home.


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