Virgin Media O2 is offering free mobile data to Britons in need

With new research revealing 11.4 million Britons are only one payslip away from serious hardship and are limiting how they use their mobile phones to cut down on costs, Virgin Media O2 and charity, Good Things Foundation, have stepped up their support. The partnership has now opened a total of 1,000 National Databank Hubs to provide free mobile data to help people in need stay connected.

The Virgin Media O2 commissioned study found the cost of living crisis is stopping one in 10 low-income Britons – those with household incomes of up to £25,000 – from calling or texting their loved ones, while 10 percent are limiting how they use their mobile data.

A further 70 percent of those earning less than £25,000 say they don’t know what they’d do if they couldn’t access the internet, with almost four in 10 (38 percent) saying they rely on their phone to get online.

The National Databank, founded by Virgin Media O2 and digital inclusion charity, Good Things Foundation, describe it to be like a foodbank but for free mobile data, texts, and calls.

Since the National Databank was launched in July 2021, Virgin Media O2 has provided more than 70,000 free O2 SIM cards and 50,000 free O2 data vouchers.

The company has committed more than 61 million GB of free O2 data to the initiative by the end of 2025 and, at the end of last year, brought the National Databank to the High Street for the first time, trialling it at 10 O2 stores over the Christmas period.

When using a National Databank, people in need can access 20GB of free O2 data – enough for around 220 hours of internet browsing – per month.

Commenting on the milestone, Nicola Green from Virgin Media O2, said: “With 1,000 National Databank Hubs now available across the UK, there’s more help for people in need than ever before so they can get online and stay connected to loved ones.

Don’t miss…
Cost of living squeeze to ease within weeks thanks to inflation fall [LATEST]
Barclays to close 14 more branches in June – full list [INSIGHT]
Here’s how Isa investors can beat the stock market crash [EXPLAINED]

“As proud founders of the National Databank, Virgin Media O2 has committed more than 61 million GB of O2 data to help people get free data, texts and calls so they and their families can access essential websites, study and work from home, and keep in touch with their friends and family.”

Helen Milner OBE, group chief executive at Good Things Foundation, said: “This new research from Virgin Media O2, our National Databank founding partner, shows just how essential mobile data access is, supported by the testimony of the National Digital Inclusion Network Hubs helping communities on the frontline.

“By reaching the important milestone of opening the 1,000 National Databank Hub – against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis – Good Things Foundation’s National Databank combined offer of devices, data and digital skills support is already helping to reduce the digital divide.”

Ms Milner continued: “But with two million households still struggling to afford internet access in the UK today and 10 million adults lacking the most basic digital skills, collectively we all need to do more to help the most vulnerable people in our society connect with digital.”

Television personality Gail Porter, having experienced homelessness herself, has partnered with Virgin Media O2 and the Good Things Foundation to raise awareness of the initiative.

After visiting a Datahub in Sheffield to speak to those impacted by data poverty, Ms Porter said: “The National Databank is an incredible initiative for providing free mobile data to people who need it most.

“It’s a service that would have helped me to get off the streets more quickly when I was homeless.

“You can’t underestimate the power of being connected and being able to access important services and information on your phone.”

People can find their nearest National Databank Hub here.

Source: Read Full Article