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Vodafone UK Extend Free Mobile Broadband to 350k School Kids

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020 (9:37 am) - Score 720
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Last month saw Vodafone UK offer free Data SIMs, packed with a 30GB (GigaByte) allowance (valid for 90 days), to help 250,000 primary and secondary school children to stay connected with their education this winter. The scheme was so successful that it’s now being extended to reach another 100,000 children and young people.

The schools.connected programme essentially gives schools the ability order Vodafone’s data SIMs, which will then be given to pupils who find it “difficult to access education from home” because they don’t have the right broadband ISP connectivity. The move may help to mitigate some of the disruption caused by COVID-19.

NOTE: Each school is eligible for a maximum number of SIMs and those quotas are set to be based on the proportion of pupils on free school meals (this is the most consistent data available to Vodafone).

Apparently, the operator has since been positively bombarded with applications, which resulted in their “initial” allocation of 250,000 data SIMs being ordered in the space of just 4 working days by 6,970 primary and secondary schools. As a result, the operator has now made a further 100,000 Data SIMs available (delivery is expected in January 2021).

Obviously, such SIMs will still need to be able to receive a good mobile broadband (4G, 5G etc.) signal of their own in order to be effective, which will vary from place to place. On top of that those who receive the SIMs will need a device to put them in (e.g. mobile router, laptop, tablet, smartphone etc.) and that’s not something this programme will include (some past schemes have included such kit).

Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK, said:

“We were stunned with the positive response to our schools.connected programme and the immediate demand for SIMs from schools in every corner of the UK. This only serves to highlight the scale of the issue and the vital need to provide connectivity to enable disadvantaged students to access school work from home, catch up on lost learning during school holidays, and continue with their education if they are required to isolate.

We recognise we can’t solve this problem alone, but we are doing what we can and I’m delighted we’ve been able to extend this offer to reach an additional 100,000 children and young people.”

The scheme is also now open to Further Education colleges to provide connectivity to disadvantaged 16-18-year-olds.

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