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Full-fibre network provider Hyperoptic is launching a free broadband service to families who currently do not have a reliable broadband connection for children to take part in home learning.
Hyperoptic is offering a free 50Mbps fibre broadband-only service until the end of the 2021 school summer term, 31 August, with a free Wi-Fi-enabled router and free standard installation. Residents who meet the qualifying criteria will be given a promotion code from their local authority and they are under no obligation to continue or pay for a service after that date.
Hyperoptic said that given it is a full-fibre broadband provider, users on the 50Mbps package can expect a consistent service that will not fluctuate depending on the time of day or how many people or devices in the house are connected. It also comes with unlimited data.
The offer is available for local authority tenants in homes covered by Hyperoptic’s network, which extends to 43 towns and cities across the UK, and is being enabled via its partnerships with registered housing providers. The service is aimed at enabling children who do not currently have access to adequate connectivity to easily access virtual education resources and learn from home.
Hyperoptic said that as well as recognising the digital divide issues surrounding the new demands of home learning and remote learning, research from UK communications regulator Ofcom has estimated that more than 880,000 children live in households with only a mobile internet connection. It also cited a report from the Sutton Trust that showed just 10% of teachers reported that all of their pupils had access to the internet for learning.
The company added that supporting communities had been a key focus since its inception 10 years ago and it claims to have been the first broadband company to agree “portfolio partnerships” with councils, whereby it rolled out its full-fibre service across the whole of a council’s social housing stock.
Hyperoptic already operates an affordable product scheme and runs local digital inclusion activities. It has also provided free connectivity to more than 400 community centres across the UK.
The new scheme will see Hyperoptic partner with 37 local authorities to ensure the help reaches where it is most needed and is providing the necessary materials to local authorities so they can give their residents details of the offer. Hyperoptic hopes to connect at least 2,500 families with this free offer in the next month alone.
“Hyperoptic has always been passionate about giving back to the communities it serves,” said Liam McAvoy, senior director of business development at Hyperoptic. “During the last lockdown, we donated IT equipment towards programmes for children who didn’t have hardware to access education resources.
“With the recent news that so many children do not have access to basic connectivity, we knew we had to go further. Every child deserves to be able to virtually learn and harness the opportunities that are enabled by connectivity. We hope others in the industry join us in providing free connectivity to families that need it most.”
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