Virgin Media O2 brings ‘data food bank’ to high street to improve access

Virgin Media O2 will for the first time offer access to the national mobile “food bank” from inside some of its major stores.

The company has confirmed that 10 O2 stores across the UK will offer direct access to the National Data Bank for those who qualify, and they will be able to receive 20GB of free O2 mobile data per month for up to six months.

The program is for people aged 18 and over from low-income households who struggle to access a reliable internet connection for vital services, including job search, interviewing, training and education. ‘education.

The network operator said the stores participating in the initial pilot were: Ballymena; Broadstairs (Thanet Westwood Cross); Colchester; Hastings; Hull (Jameson Street); Norwich; Newport; Perth; Plymouth; and Stockton-on-Tees (Teesside Retail Park).

The company said the areas chosen included communities where people are most likely to be digitally excluded or places where people have not been able to access the data bank before.

said Gareth Turpin, commercial director of Virgin Media O2. “We’re stepping up our support during the cost of living crisis to help even more people stay connected this Christmas.”

He added: ‘It will now be easier than ever for those who need it to access the National Data Bank directly on the high street through our O2 stores, so they can log on and connect to essential services – from medical appointments to applying for jobs. ”

The operator also announced that it would provide an additional million GB of free data via special Christmas SIM cards to help those who lack connectivity stay in touch with friends and family over the holiday season.

Helen Milner, group chief executive of the Good Things Foundation, which co-founded the National Databank with Virgin Media O2, said: “Having enough data in our increasingly digital society is not (only) a good thing. to have, it is an absolutely essential element. .

“If you’re not online, you can’t save on products and services, help your children participate in home learning, and apply for jobs.

“With two million households struggling to afford internet access in the UK today – and 10 million adults lacking even the most basic digital skills, everyone needs to do even more to create a movement in digital inclusion that leaves no one behind.

“This underpins our 2022-2025 strategy, ensuring we go further to close the digital divide for good.

“This additional support is a perfect example of industry innovation making a huge difference to people’s lives, and will mean more practical help is available for low-income people to log in and access benefits. infinities of digital connectivity.”

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