UK internet providers have teamed up to provide free internet access to thousands of families across the countries who have students struggling to access the internet for their online classes.
The plan has already been approved by 37 local authority areas, which will see the partnership between these internet providers provide a high-speed internet connection to families who have been struggling with low-speed connectivity or no connectivity during the lockdowns. The companies also assured families that the internet will be free until the of the summer, after which, they will not have any obligation to continue with the plan.
Free internet connection
Recent estimates from Ofcom, the UK’s telecoms regulators, indicated that more than 880,000 children had no access to a wired internet connection and relied on mobile phones for connection. The partnership between broadband and mobile companies, therefore, will go a long way in bridging the digital gap that has widened since the pandemic started and schools started doing remote learning.
The free internet access has been made possible by Vodafone, Sky, O2, EE and Three, which have all promised to provide assistance to underprivileged students across the country to continue with their education.
Senior director at Hyperoptic, Liam McAvoy, indicated that he hoped other stakeholders in the industry would join their efforts in providing free internet connection to students who were struggling with their remote learning.
McAvoy added that every child deserved a chance to continue with their education, noting that the current lockdown situation had made that possible. Migration to online learning meant that only students with access to the internet would be able to attend classes, leaving underprivileged children unable to compete with their peers.
Hyperoptic promised students who will be using their free internet services during the lockdown, that the internet would be unmetered and would not fluctuate depending on time. This would allow the students to have total access to learning materials.