A new campaign has been launched to help close the digital divide between Kent families who cannot afford access to digital services and those who can.
Kent County Council (KCC) is raising awareness of the social tariffs, which are discounted broadband deals offered to eligible households in need of financial support with their broadband services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the reliance on digital communications so that people can stay connected to their loved ones and their communities, work and maintain an income, access vital services and benefit from digital educational resources.
The cost of living is ever increasing, this includes broadband prices too. To enable people in need to access cheaper deals, discounted broadband packages are being made available to save eligible households in the range of £150 per year.
Leader of Kent County Council, Roger Gough, said “It is vital that no one should be left behind in today’s digital age, which is why we want to raise awareness of the support and discounted rates for families who cannot currently access digital services.
“We know that digital connectivity is no longer a luxury but a fundamental need. This was hugely highlighted by the pandemic, as restrictions forced us all to rely more heavily on an already digital reliant world.
“However, too many people in Kent still have no access to the internet. Working with our Digital Kent team, we want to support anyone who is in receipt of a qualifying benefit to subscribe to a broadband social tariff so they can connect to the services that they need.”
Statistics show that only 1.2% of those eligible for a broadband or mobile social tariff have one, which has led to Government calling on providers to make available and promote discounted deals for people on Universal Credit and other benefits.
KCC established Digital Kent in 2021 as part of the Helping Hands scheme, which was set up to help families and businesses hit hardest by the pandemic. The Helping Hands scheme allocated £2.5 million to tackle digital exclusion in Kent and a further £2.5 million was allotted from the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) for digital inclusion.
Our Digital Kent team are managing a number of projects, initiatives and schemes to improve digital inclusion and capability and are here to help anyone with advice and support.
You can find out more information here www.kent.gov.uk/socialtariffs
For more cost of living support visit www.kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/cost-of-living-support