We know that lack of internet access is a barrier to remote learning for many pupils. A recent study by Ofcom suggests that up to a million children are only able to access the internet through costly mobile data.
We’re calling on mobile networks to end the #DigitalDivide by making educational sites data-free until the end of the pandemic. Otherwise, the cost of mobile data could dictate which children can learn whilst self-isolating and cut the most vulnerable off from vital education and connectivity. We're very excited to say that Vodafone, O2, Three and EE have agreed to join our campaign for zero-rating education sites. We are working closely with our video partner, Mux, and these providers to find a solution as soon as possible.
In the meantime, we welcome the targeted support offered by mobile networks through the Department for Education’s Get help with Technology scheme.
Three, Smarty, Virgin Mobile, EE, Tesco Mobile, O2, Vodafone and Sky Mobile are offering increased data packages until July 2021 to provide more data to pupils who need it most.
Schools, trusts and local authorities can request mobile data increases for children and young people who:
- do not have fixed broadband at home
- cannot afford additional data for their devices
- are experiencing disruption to their face-to-face education
The Department for Education is also offering a scheme to provide 4G routers to students who may require them. You can find the details and information about how to apply on their website.
Vodafone are also offering free sim cards with 30GB of data to schools and colleges.