Free fast broadband offered in UK to support home schooling

Thousands of families struggling with home learning are being offered free high-speed broadband following a partnership between internet provider Hyperoptic and dozens of local authorities across the UK.

Mark Sweney 

Families in 37 local authority areas, from Tower Hamlets in London to Newcastle and Leeds that are struggling with remote learning due to poor or no internet will be offered the chance to have a high speed connection installed with no usage charges until the end of the summer term. At that point there is no obligation to stick with the service. Telecoms regulator Ofcom has estimated that more than 880,000 children live in a household with internet access only via mobile phone.

Broadband and mobile companies have answered calls to do more to support students struggling with connectivity during lockdown. The UK’s biggest telecoms companies including BT, which also owns mobile company EE, Vodafone, Sky, Virgin Media, Sky, O2 and Three have all launched initiatives offering free data and internet packages to help children access online learning tools.

Liam McAvoy, senior director of business development at Hyperoptic, said: “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.”

The company said that users of the package could expect a consistent service that does not fluctuate depending on what time of day it is or how many people or devices in the house are connected, and that it comes with unlimited data.

Hyperoptic said it hoped to connect at least 2,500 families with the offer in the next month alone.