Publishing Date: Jan 18, 2021

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INDUSTRY NEWS:  18 January 2021

PRESS RELEASE:  Broadband provider Hyperoptic has announced that it is offering a free broadband service to families who do not currently have a reliable broadband connection in their home.

This service will enable children who do not currently have access to adequate connectivity to easily access virtual education resources and learn from home.

Residents who meet the criteria will be given a promotion code from their local authority. They can then order a free 50Mbps service from Hyperoptic, which will run until the end of this academic year (31 August 2021). A router and installation will be arranged free of charge, on a convenient date. The resident is under no obligation to continue or pay for a service after this date.

The offer is available for local authority tenants in homes covered by Hyperoptic’s network. It is being enabled via its partnerships with registered housing providers.

The scheme is being offered in response to news that many UK school children are facing digital poverty as they lack a reliable Internet connection to complete home learning. Ofcom estimates that more than 880,000 children live in a household with only a mobile internet connection. In a report from the Sutton Trust, just 10% of teachers reported that all of their pupils had access to the internet for learning.

Hyperoptic is partnering with 37 local authorities to ensure the help reaches where it's most needed. It is providing the materials to these local authorities so that they can share details of this offer with their residents. Hyperoptic hopes to connect at least 2,500 families with this free offer in the next month alone.

Supporting communities has been a key focus for Hyperoptic since its inception ten years ago. It was the first broadband company to agree ‘portfolio partnerships’ with councils, whereby it rolled out its full fibre service across the whole of the council’s social housing stock. It already operates an “Affordable Product Scheme,” and runs local digital inclusion activities. It has provided free connectivity to over 400 community centres across the UK.

Liam McAvoy, Senior Director of Business Development, Hyperoptic commented, “Hyperoptic has always been passionate about giving back to the communities it serves. 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 most.”

Matt Warman, Digital Infrastructure Minister said, “Good connectivity is vital for children learning remotely right now so I'm thrilled to see broadband providers such as Hyperoptic helping those in need.

“The government has also brokered a range of offers with telecoms firms to keep people connected during the pandemic, including removing broadband data caps and support for those struggling with bills due to Covid, and we will continue to do whatever we can to help.”

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