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City of London Corp Giving Out Free 4G Mobile Data and Dongle

Thursday, June 18th, 2020 (11:34 am) - Score 1,659
london city 2017 uk

The City of London Corporation has today announced that they will be handing out a “one off pre-loaded dongle device free of charge that will provide data to access the internet,” which will be provided to those who may be unable to leave home as a result of COVID-19 or cannot afford their own broadband access.

The new scheme will be made available those who live in the Square Mile area of central London, who have been told to shield or self-isolate and who receive help to pay their council tax. Apparently the CoLC say they’ve written to “every household in receipt of council tax benefit providing a simple application form and pre-paid return envelope.”

All of this is in addition to the support provided by the City Corporation to children and young people needing support with education or who have additional needs during the pandemic.

Randall Anderson, Chair of the CoLC’s Community and Children’s Services Committee, said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has meant that some people have been asked to shield or self-isolate, but we know that not everyone has access to the internet.

Shielding and self-isolation can lead to loneliness and becoming detached from everyday life.

We hope that by supporting those who are most vulnerable to this virus will now have a means to stay connected.”

Sadly the press release is quite vague and doesn’t say how much data is being provided or by which provider and under what terms of use. Likewise they don’t even say if it’s a 4G based mobile broadband solution or something else, although we’d generally assume it to be a mobile product. We have requested further details and await a reply.

UPDATE 11:41am

The CoLC have advised that the device should be 4G and is not tied to a specific manufacturer (i.e. they will see what is available and best meets the needs of those seeking help). In terms of the data allowance, the intention is to provide up to 20GB of data, which should be fine for basic tasks but won’t last long if somebody does any moderate streaming.

No replacement in event of loss or damage will be provided. No further data will be provided for this device by the City of London Corporation, but we assume the end-user will be able to buy a top-up.

Leave a Comment
16 Responses
  1. Avatar Rich says:

    Well I mean, that’s different.

    Less than 10,000 people actually live in the square mile (although about half a million work there) and according to Rightmove, the average house price there is over £1m.

    Can there really be many people in this group who need council tax benefit and can’t afford broadband?!

    1. Avatar Gregory Veerasamy says:

      A few people around where I live, not that far from there, who live in rather large houses with very nice cars also get support with their council tax.
      So I’m sure some ‘registered’ as in need of support within the square who but otherwise live in rather nice accommodation will be able to benefit from this.

    2. Avatar Ivory Towers of London says:

      I’m astounded anyone who lives in Central London could claim any sort of benefits.

      London is crammed with millions of filthy rich people with the UK’s best offerings and opportunities right on their doorsteps. All Londoners are significantly wealthier than the rest of the thousands of deprived areas of the UK.

      I find this story quite disappointing. Perhaps outsiders are living in these million pound accommodations provided by their employers. I guess that is quite possible, in which case fair play, but please don’t try and imply London has any deprivation; that is highly insulting to anyone outside London.

    3. Avatar Andrew Campling says:

      To correct some wrong assumptions, there is social housing and deprivation in all parts of London, just as there is across other parts of the UK. This applies in the City of London too, where there are a number of housing estates and, in addition, the Corporation owns social housing located in some of the surrounding London boroughs.

    4. Avatar greg says:

      Care to correct the wrong assumptions by people with an example address of these social housing or estates which are within a “Square Mile area of central London”.

      I know of none.

    5. Avatar Andrew Campling says:

      A quick Internet search would tell you that the Middlesex Street and Golden Lane estates are both within the City of London and that the Corporation also manages a further ten estates in six other London boroughs. Further basic research would inform you about deprivation in London and the rest of the UK more generally.

    6. Avatar Billy Mason says:

      mate go to barbican. see the giant ugly brutalist towers? they’re full of low income people. the people who work there are rich, the people who live there (or many of them) aren’t.

    7. Avatar edward says:

      The majority of Golden Lane Estates, The barbican etc are not social housing as you claimed.

      Most of it was scooped up and is privately owned that happened and dates back to the Right to Buy schemes.

      A typical flat there now costs between anything from £500,000 upto 1.8 Million.


      Somehow i doubt anyone in a million quid flat needs help affording broadband.

    8. Avatar Andrew Campling says:

      It’s not uncommon for some properties on a council estates to have been purchased under the right to buy scheme. Both are however listed on the Corporation’s website as their estates and do contain social housing too. Not everyone that lives in central London including in the the City of London is wealthy.

    9. Avatar greg says:

      According to the internet that you directed me to by 2016 52% of property on Golden Lane estate had been privately purchased under the right to buy scheme. So that would mean back then and most definitely now a majority if not all of it is privately owned property now.

      The complexes upon it are all privately owned and have been for well over a decade.

      Was that a quick enough google search for you?

  2. Avatar Rich says:

    Andrew the Corporation does indeed own and profit from social housing outside the square mile, but that’s nothing to do with this as those people are not City of London residents (as they live outside it) so, going by what has been stated here, it would not apply to.

    Added to this, it only applies to those shielding AND in receipt of benefits it seems, with 9,401 residents, and approx 1 in 34 people shielding, we can estimate there are less than 300 shielders resident in the square mile. If 1% of these people, in their million pound houses, need 4G dongles as they are in receipt of council tax benefit and so can’t afford broadband, I would be shocked.

    That would be maybe 3 people.

    1. Avatar Andrew Campling says:

      As above, the Middlesex Street and Golden Lane estates are both within the City of London.

    2. Avatar edward says:

      “If 1% of these people, in their million pound houses, need 4G dongles as they are in receipt of council tax benefit and so can’t afford broadband, I would be shocked.”

      Indeed though the actual property prices there obviously does not fit his help the poor narrative…

  3. Avatar Sini Cal says:

    3 dongles for this much PR – not a bad return. Waiting for the ‘retired coal miners living within the square mile to receive new bow ties’ announcement.

    1. Avatar edward says:

      LOL one person thinks there are loads of them left.

  4. Avatar John says:

    Greg, are you a deprivation denier? Whilst London is comparatively wealthy there are many people who are not and some do live within the City of London boundaries. It will be markedly worse post-Covid. I think the separate question is quite how many people might benefit from this initiative given that the level of deprivation will be lower than, say, adjacent local council areas like Tower Hamlets or across the river in Southwark. I’m sure CoL will have crunched some numbers and they could be modest. Other councils might want to consider the same but don’t have the resources.

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