Industry supports remote learning during lockdownGulistan Ladha
Since March 2020 telecoms providers and broadcasters have implemented measures to keep the UK connected. This includes additional help for vulnerable customers, NHS staff, care homes and hospitals. They have offered discounted broadband services or lifted the data caps, given free data packages on mobile, zero-rated websites, WiFi vouchers, paused charges for sports and other channels, and standalone education resources.
To support children and young people during this lockdown period, the BBC announced that it will deliver the biggest education offer in its history across more of its platforms. It will bring together BBC Two, CBBC, BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer and online to deliver a new education offer to children, teachers and parents. The new offer will ensure they can access curriculum-based learning, even if they don’t have access to the internet.
Mobile providers have partnered with the Government to provide free extra mobile data to disadvantaged families, in some cases providing unlimited data, enabling them to access education resources while learning remotely. EE, Three, Sky Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone are among them. The Department for Education already runs a scheme for disadvantaged children who don’t have access to a home broadband connection to temporarily increase their mobile data allowance. Schools, trusts and local authorities need to request the support on a pupil’s behalf. In cases when this is not available, the government offers 4G wireless routers. Some mobile providers have already given free data SIMs to thousands of primary, secondary schools and colleges.