Vodafone pledges 24m gigabytes of data to connect people across the UK

Melanie May | 12 January 2022 | News

A man in a black mask looking at his phone, in front of a laptop

Vodafone has joined Good Things Foundation’s National Databank to provide free data for the charity’s network of community groups across the UK and the people they support, with a pledge of 24m gigabytes of data.

Vodafone will be providing connectivity in the form of SIM cards, each with 20Gb data and free calls and texts every month. It is enough to provide connectivity to 200,000 people for six months.

Vodafone has worked with Good Things Foundation on digital exclusion projects since 2020 and this new initiative is part of its aim to connect one million people living in digital poverty by the end of 2022. 

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Good Things Foundation’s National Databank gives community groups across the UK access to free data – either via SIM cards or vouchers – that they can share with those who are digitally excluded and need support.  Following a three-month pilot that saw over 400 data vouchers distributed to community partners, the programme is now live in 34 centres across the UK with plans to extend it to hundreds more during 2022.

Community groups who are already a part of the Good Things Foundation’s network will be able to apply for the connectivity later this month via the Online Centres Network section of the charity’s website.

Ofcom figures show that in the UK, 1.5m households, or approximately 6% of the population, are living without internet access. 

Ahmed Essam, CEO, Vodafone UK, commented:

“We’ve put tackling digital exclusion at the heart of our business with our pledge to connect one million people by the end of 2022. Joining Good Things Foundation’s National Databank is an important milestone in achieving this target and another great way to provide connectivity to grass roots organisations who can have immediate impact in the communities in which they work. Together, we can tackle digital exclusion.”

Helen Milner OBE, Group Chief Executive, Good Things Foundation said:

“We’re delighted to welcome Vodafone to the National Databank. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the digital divide, highlighting a huge pressing social issue and leaving people with multiple social challenges left behind. It is not OK to leave millions of people locked out of the digital world.

 

“We’re excited to see the National Databank grow in scale in 2022, increasing from 34 participating centres to hundreds, possibly thousands, more.

 

“Our aim is to drive collaboration between public, private and community sector organisations and deliver sustainable solutions that will ultimately end data poverty in the UK by 2024. This is a real possibility. Together, we can all come together to break down the barriers causing data poverty in the UK once and for all.”

Vodafone has also announced that its charities.connected initiative has received applications for more than 112,000 SIM cards from 1,180 organisations. Charities.connected launched in August and gives every registered charity the opportunity to apply for free connectivity to improve its digital capability or help the individuals and families it supports to get online. Organisations that have applied to date support a range of social causes, from domestic abuse and homelessness to healthcare and learning disabilities.  Charities can to apply for the free connectivity here.