In the latest move by UK comms operators to ensure children in disadvantaged households are not further held back by a lack of connectivity during the lockdown, London-based altnet Community Fibre has announced it is offering free broadband to the the capital’s most vulnerable households.
The company says its aim is to provide adequate internet connections to vulnerable households to ensure children’s education does not suffer because of poor connectivity.
The offer comprises one year’s worth of zero-charged 100% end-to-end fibre broadband, which delivers 50Mbps and can be accessed by residents of the 18 boroughs served by the provider – Brent, Camden, the City of London, Croydon, Ealing, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth and Westminster.
London residents who do not currently have a broadband connection or who struggle to pay for it can access the free service by contacting their landlords to find out whether they have Community Fibre infrastructure installed. After the free broadband period, recipients can either choose to become Community Fibre customers or cancel the service.
Community Fibre has already partnered with 30 of London’s largest landlords – including local authorities and housing associations – to identify the vulnerable households eligible for its offer. “Our mission is to bring better broadband to London communities and we always look for opportunities to give back to those we serve,” said Community Fibre CEO Graeme Oxby.
“It is critical to enable those who are home schooling but struggling with slow connections or no connection to benefit from fast, reliable full-fibre broadband to help as many children as possible to continue their education and prepare their future.”
The offer is available immediately for eligible households in all the London boroughs served by Community Fibre. In areas not currently served by the supplier, landlords will be required to grant wayleaves, so that Community Fibre’s full-fibre network can be installed for eligible residents at no cost.
Teresa Cottam, chief analyst at technology, media and telecoms specialist analysis firm Omnisperience, noted that in the current crisis, full-fibre networks have played a vital role in keeping families connected, helping businesses survive, and ensuring children continue with their education. says. “As technology becomes ever more embedded in our lives, the fabric of society is increasingly held together by the light of high-speed fibre,” she said.
Peter Butler, business development manager at London and Hertfordshire-based housing association Origin Housing, added: “Many of our families have been struggling with home schooling due to poor connectivity. This offer is a sign of the strength of the partnership we have built with Community Fibre and we would encourage other London landlords to grant them the wayleave agreement to upgrade to a full-fibre broadband network at their own properties.”
Community Fibre operates a 100% full-fibre broadband network throughout London. The company’s stated mission is that it believes in a more inclusive future where everyone has access to better broadband. Community Fibre’s network offers up to 3Gbps to residential homes and 10Gbps for businesses. The new offer comes just after it announced it was using its network to provide a fibre-based TV service to customers.
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