Mayor of London to launch £545k pilot to improve digital divide

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a pilot programme worth £545,000 which will help 75,000 Londoners without access to the internet.

Today, the mayor opened the Digital Inclusion Service pilot which will support people over three years  through providing those who are offline with up-cycled devices, providing free or low-cost mobile connectivity, and making people aware of basic skills education courses available to them.

An estimated 270,000 Londoners have no access to the internet or digital access at all, with a further two million having very limited use, for example those without their own device to get online, or those who can get online but have difficulty accessing online forms or internet banking.

Launching the scheme at the London Digital Inclusion conference at the Museum of London today, Mr Khan said: “Every Londoner should have digital access, but the sad reality is that too many Londoners lack the skills, technology and infrastructure to get online easily, preventing them from accessing the tools they need to thrive.

“The new Digital Inclusion Service will build on the amazing work already under way to tackle digital exclusion, and bring vital resources such as devices, connectivity, and learning opportunities to the fingertips of those who need them.

“I’m calling on large businesses and public bodies to join us in upcycling their old laptops and other tech to the new Device Bank to be reconditioned, to help bridge the digital divide, aid London’s recovery and build a better London for everyone.”

The mayor’s office said the model is a one-year pilot with the aim of creating a sustainable service that can be maintained in London into the future. 

The design process will begin tomorrow and will launch in January 2023.

Pictured: Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (Picture: PA)




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