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Hyperoptic Gifts Free Fibre Broadband to Disadvantaged UK Kids

Monday, January 18th, 2021 (8:52 am) - Score 2,208
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UK ISP Hyperoptic, which is rolling out a 1Gbps FTTP/B broadband network to large residential (MDU) buildings and office blocks, has today echoed last week’s news from CommunityFibre (here) by announcing that they too will supply a “free 50Mbps service” to homes with children stuck on slower connections (coverage allowing).

The provider’s network is currently present in parts of 43 UK towns and cities, covering well over 400,000 premises, although they have previously expressed an aspiration to cover 2 million UK premises by the end of 2021, followed by 5 million come the end of 2024 (mostly in urban areas).

However, as part of their response to the new COVID-19 lockdown and its knock-on impacts for education, Hyperoptic is now partnering with 37 local authorities to ensure that they can supply a free 50Mbps broadband service to any homes within their network patch that are still using a sub-30Mbps internet connection (i.e. those where there is at least one child present).

The ISP hopes to connect “at least2,500 families with this free offer in the next month alone. The free period itself will then run until the end of this academic year (31st August 2021). “A router and installation will be arranged free of charge, on a convenient date. The resident is under no obligation to continue or pay for a service after this date,” added the provider.

What is Hyperoptic offering?
1. A free 50Mbps fibre broadband-only service until the end of the 2021 school summer term
2. A free WiFi enabled router
3. Free standard installation

Are you eligible?
1. You must be living in a Hyperoptic-connected LA property
2. A minimum of one school age child (under 18) living in the property
3. You currently either have no fixed broadband in the home or you have an existing package that isn’t reliable (e.g. an ADSL connection, or an FTTC package with download speeds of 30Mbps or less)

How can you get connected?
1. Contact your local authority
2. Call Hyperoptic on 0333 332 1111 quoting your promo code and your address
3. Hyperoptic will book your free installation on a convenient date
4. Our engineer will install your Hyperoptic connection and set up your free WiFi router

We should point out that Hyperoptic already provides free connectivity to over 400 community centres across the UK (usually distributed via WiFi), often as part of their local deployment agreement with a particular authority. The provider also operates an “Affordable Product Scheme” and runs local digital inclusion activities in areas they’ve reached.

Liam McAvoy, Senior Director of Business Development, Hyperoptic:

“Hyperoptic has always been passionate about giving back to the communities it serves. During the last lockdown, we donated IT equipment towards programmes for children who didn’t have hardware to access educational resources.

With the recent news that so many children do not have access to basic connectivity, we knew we had to go further. 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.”

Matt Warman, UK Digital Infrastructure Minister, added:

“Good connectivity is vital for children learning remotely right now so I’m thrilled to see broadband providers such as Hyperoptic helping those in need.

The government has also brokered a range of offers with telecoms firms to keep people connected during the pandemic, including removing broadband data caps and support for those struggling with bills due to Covid, and we will continue to do whatever we can to help.”

So far as we can tell Hyperoptic’s promotion seems to be a bit more accessible than some, at least there’s no mention of any other means testing being done, such as to exclude any homes that could access and afford a better connection if they really wanted (i.e. not in a weak financial position or on benefits).

Otherwise, this sort of scheme appears more intend for those buildings where Hyperoptic is already available as an option, or plans to become one soon. You can find a full list of supporting local authorities below.

List of 37 Supporting Local Authorities
· A2Dominion
· Brent Council
· Catalyst Housing Group
· City of London
· City West
· Clarion Housing Group
· Enfield Council
· Govan Housing Association
· Hammersmith & Fulham Council
· Hyde Group
· Islington Housing Association
· Leeds Council
· London & Quadrant
· Maryhill Housing Association
· Metropolitan Housing
· Milnbank Housing Association
· Network Homes
· New Gorbals Housing Association
· Newcastle Council
· Newlon Housing Trust
· Notting Hill Genesis
· One Housing
· One Manchester Housing
· One Vision Housing
· Optivo Housing
· Peabody
· Poplar HARCA
· Queen’s Cross Housing Association
· Richmond Housing Partnership Limited
· Salix Homes
· Southampton Council
· Southwark Housing
· Swan Housing/Nu Living
· Thurrock Council
· Tower Hamlets Council
· Trafford Housing
· Westminster Council

Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. A_Builder says:

    Slightly surprised that Wandsworth is not on that list?

    Hyper have a pretty big installed footprint there in MDU’s.

    Anyway good new for more move to squash the digital divide. Also a good marketing tool for prizing lower tier customers off FTTC and ADSL to a better connection that might be cheaper too.

  2. Kim says:

    How is “disadvantaged” defined?

    1. Peter S says:

      There are a lot of “disadvantaged” children in rural areas at the moment, trying to study online whilst sharing very limited bandwidth with their parents.

    2. Mark Jackson says:

      See under “are you eligible?” above for Hyperoptic’s approach to eligibility, which is fairly broad.

  3. AnotherTim says:

    The eligibility criteria is quite broad, but of course is limited to those in areas covered by Hyperoptic. Those in rural areas with no available superfast options won’t be helped by any of these offers. Not that I’m critical of them – they are great and the companies involved should be applauded – but such schemes aren’t enough to close the digital divide.

    1. A_Builder says:

      They can only do what they can do!

      And that is only going to be in their deployed footprint.

      As I alluded to above: there are sound commercial reasons for this as well as altruism. Who cares what the drivers are: kids need connections now. This at least solves the problem for some kids.

    2. AnotherTim says:

      I’m not being critical of companies that offer free superfast broadband for kids. I’m just concerned that those that are not in the areas covered by these companies are not only missing out on fast broadband, but also their families are having to pay for sub-superfast connections (often more expensive than superfast is available for in other areas) – so they are disadvantages in both availability and price. I’d like to see something done that would even things out a bit without relying on ad-hoc philanthropy.

    3. A_Builder says:

      Agrees

  4. Louise says:

    Too bad certain housing associations are still in the ‘talk’ stages with hyperoptic and can’t even provide a code to the residents. Why advertise that the offer is available when you can even get the code.

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