Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, welcomes BT’s recently announced partnership with the Department of Education (DfE) to bring free Wi-Fi access to children and families with no internet access at home.
In a partnership with the DfE, BT will provide in-need families with free access to its Wi-Fi network, which extends to 5.5 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the country. The Wi-Fi access vouchers will give users unlimited data on up to three devices at a time, for a period of six months.
Around 150,000 families in the UK have no access to the internet, meaning that many children have been at risk of falling behind during school closures. This scheme will provide tens of thousands of children with connectivity and access to online schooling and learning resources.
Distribution of access is being handled directly by the DfE, which will issue families with the necessary voucher usernames and passwords. Local Education Authorities and Academy Trusts in Wealden and across England will be invited to request vouchers, working with schools to identify those children who are most in need.
A map outlining BT Wi-Fi hotspots available in a variety of public locations, including hotels, shops, banks and city centres, as well as levels of coverage of public Wi-Fi access through BT’s nationwide network of home and business hubs is available here.
Nus Ghani said: “Secure internet access will continue to play an important role for children and families as we work towards pupils returning to schools in September. This scheme will allow thousands of children in Wealden to keep up with online schoolwork over the summer.”
“Broadband has long been raised by constituents and businesses as one of the top challenges in Wealden and I have persistently campaigned to secure better telecom infrastructure and broadband coverage in the constituency. After multiple meetings and talks with Clive Selly, the Openreach CEO, an ambitious plan for building full fibre broadband facilities in 227 market towns and villages across the UK has been unveiled in February 2020. I am delighted that Hailsham, Horsebridge, Lower Dicker, Upper Dicker and Forest Row are among the locations set to benefit from this much-awaited announcement.”
More information on Nus’ campaign to improve broadband in Wealden is available here.