Thousands and thousands of individuals are at present lacking out on FREE broadband gives within the UK

With millions of us staying home to work, study and socialize to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, we are more dependent than ever on our broadband connection. If you’re lucky enough to live in a location that has reliable fiber broadband and have the option to get an expensive 18 month contract, that’s not too much of a problem. However, millions of people without access to internet connections have been unable to connect to teams in the office, search for new jobs, take virtual lessons, and more.

In response, the UK government and a number of companies have launched initiatives to provide free broadband connections to those in need. Worryingly, new research by Compare Fiber suggests that millions may not know which free connection to get.

According to the new study, 57.4 percent of households with lower incomes have not accepted the offers – or do not know that help is available at all. That corresponds to around 7.1 million people.

To raise awareness, Compare Fiber has announced plans to include details of all major broadband programs available to lower-income households. This includes free Wi-Fi vouchers, which are available for the roughly five million BT public hotspots. You don’t have to be a BT customer to get one of these coupons that allow you to connect to the fast WiFi hotspot to take part in video calls with teachers or employers.

If you don’t live near one of these hotspots, Vodafone offers around 350,000 students free SIM cards with 30 GB of cellular data. This permission disappears pretty quickly when you make or answer video calls. However, it should be sufficient to download classroom materials, upload work to mark up, and use collaboration tools like Google Docs or Microsoft’s Office 365 suite available in your browser.

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The government has also launched a Get Help With Tech program that offers more mobile data from EE, O2, Sky Mobile, SMARTY, Tesco Mobile, Three and Virgin Mobile, as well as free 4G routers to use those mobile data connections to provide a Wi – Fi network in your home to connect smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, desktops or laptops for work or school.

Go to Fiber Compare and enter your zip code – as if trying to compare the price and speed of providers in your area – and you will also get the free broadband programs that are available to you.

Nathan Hill-Haimes, co-founder of Compare Fiber, said: “Support is offered, but we need to go further. It’s so sad that low-income families are choosing between feeding their families or paying broadband bills. Before homeschooling, broadband was a luxury, but now it’s a necessity. Access to learning is a human right; we need to help more.

“The importance of an Internet connection to children’s education is not diminished just because a ban ends. If anything, it becomes more important for those left behind that they have to catch up now. It is great that they offer free broadband. Our bigger concern is what happens when the pandemic is over. That is why we are calling for a long-term solution in the form of means-tested broadband. “

Compare Fiber surveyed 1,000 low-income households (families earning less than 60 percent of the national median wage) in January 2021 to examine the number of people who missed the free broadband programs available to support during the pandemic, 574 who did not have free broadband accepted and weren’t sure how. The Department of Labor and Pensions defines “low wages” as any family that earns less than 60 percent of the national average wage. On this basis, more than 13 million people in the UK live in low-income households. 57.4 percent of 13 million people are 7.1 million people.

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