Too many people still lack the technology or skills they need to live in today’s online world. This is leading to a widening divide in society, exacerbated by our reliance on digital technology during the pandemic.
Bridging the Divide shows that, while more people are online now than before the pandemic, 1.5 million households are still not connected to the internet at all, and 29 per cent of adults have very low digital engagement – barely using internet devices, email or online shopping and banking. Some groups are much more likely to be digitally excluded than others, including older people, disabled people and people on low incomes.
The report argues for three ‘digital entitlements’ that will ensure all citizens have access to digital life. These are:
- A broadband discount scheme providing connections costing no more than £15 per month for disabled people and households with low incomes, co-funded by government and the telecommunications industry;
- A free internet-enabled device for individuals identified by local groups to not be able to afford one;
- Access to free digital training in the community for everyone who needs it.
Up to 12 million households would be eligible for the discount and millions would save, after automatically receiving a government voucher to apply to their monthly bill.
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