7.1 million people still missing out on free broadband during coronavirus

For immediate release: 1st February 2021

Contact: Radaam Thirlway, radaam@comparefibre.co.uk, 07966 475843

- Compare Fibre reports that 57.4% of lower-income households have not taken up, and are unaware of the help on offer (1)

- This equates to 7.1m people (2)

- Free wifi vouchers to 5 million hotspots are available through the BT website. You do not need to be a BT customer (3)

- 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 (4)

- Vodafone offers 350,000 students free 30Gb data sim cards (5)

- Using the Compare Fibre website, it is now as simple as a postcode search to discover coronavirus support packages for broadband (6)

"There is support on offer, but we need to go further. It is so sad that lower-income families are choosing between feeding their families and paying broadband bills. Before homeschooling 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."

Nathan Hill-Haimes - Co-Founder Compare Fibre

Compare Fibre uncovers 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.

Comparison site Compare Fibre is now publicising all free offers through its website to increase awareness and takeup. A lower-income household can now enter their postcode, check all coronavirus support offers and then access the offer immediately.

1 - During January 2021, Compare fibre polled 1000 low-income (families earning less than 60% of the national median pay) households 574 had not taken up a free broadband offer and were unsure how to.

2 - The government's department of work and pensions defines low pay as any family earning less than 60% of the national median pay. On this basis, there are more than 13 million people in the UK living in low-income households. 57.4% of 13 million people is 7.1 million people - https://www.unison.org.uk/get-help/knowledge/pay/low-pay/#:~:text=Low%20pay%3A%20an%20introduction,-Low%20pay%20can&text=The%20government's%20department%20of%20work,living%20in%20low%2Dincome%20households.

3 - https://www.businessdirect.bt.com/sectors/education/free-wi-fi

4 - https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/about-increasing-mobile-data

5 - https://www.vodafone.co.uk/mobile/pay-as-you-go-plans/schools-connected

6 - www.comparefibre.co.uk/coronavirus

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