Vodafone UK has announced that it has helped connect 125,000 people living in digital poverty to the internet so far. The company said that it’s aiming to connect a million people living in digital poverty by the end of 2022 which will open new opportunities up to them.
While it’s good progress the company is making, the UK has 1.5 million homes (6% of the population) that are still offline. This means those families would have been disadvantaged during lockdown and will remain disadvantaged going forward because they do not have access to work online nor to online education.
To help spur on the distribution of devices, Vodafone has launched a ReBoxing Day campaign to encourage people to donate their old devices. The firm cited research that showed that UK households were sitting on around £20 billion worth of unused tech.
Commenting on the milestone, Vodafone UK CEO, Ahmed Essam, said:
“Connectivity isn’t a luxury these days, it’s an essential. That’s why we’ve put tackling digital exclusion at the very heart of our business. I’m delighted that – with the help of our partners, customers, employees, and the public – we’ve already connected 125,000 people.”
While there will always be people in situations where they need schemes such as this to get online at points throughout their life, some broadband providers in the UK have been offering basic services for those who have some money, but not a great deal. As of last December, BT, Virgin Media, and KCOM were offering cheaper broadband packages for those receiving benefits.
Vodafone is distributing collected devices through partner charities including Barnado’s, the Trussell Trust, and more.