January 22, 2024
Live Better Connected Podcast: How Can We Narrow The Digital Divide?
Here at Mobile UK, we have been discussing the implications and impact of what’s known as the Digital Divide – the term to describe unequal access in society to digital technology. In our latest episode of the Live Better Connected Podcast, our Director of Policy and Communications, Gareth Elliott, speaks with Helen Millner OBE, Chief Executive at Good Things Foundation.
Good Things Foundation is a social change charity, with a mission to make digital technology more accessible. In the podcast episode, Helen outlines what the digital divide is and discusses how Good Things Foundation is working alongside the mobile industry to tackle it.
Helen explains that following the invention of the smartphone, the nature of digital inclusion has changed. This means that people who were already digitally excluded have fallen further behind. She highlights the impact of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, citing the increasing digital exclusion experienced during this time. For example, 25% of children in the lowest-income households did not have access to connected devices but were expected to complete schoolwork online. During the pandemic, lack of connectivity resulted in limited access across all age groups, as disadvantaged groups struggled to get online for basic services such as online food shopping, leaving them more vulnerable than pre-pandemic.
Helen also discusses what Good Things Foundation is doing to address the digital divide such as providing the digital skills needed for everyday activities, and out outlines how Good Things Foundation is collaborating with mobile operators to do this across the country.
Good Things Foundation with Virgin Media O2, supported by Vodafone and Three launched the National Data Bank, dubbed a food bank for connectivity data. Last year the 1,000th databank was launched in the UK, providing free mobile data, texts and calls to help those in need. Good Things Foundation also worked with BT through its BT Skills for Tomorrow programme, launched with the aim of helping 10 million people make the most of the digital world.
Be sure to watch and listen to the full episode here, as Helen provides more details on the amazing work that is doing to tackle the digital divide. To find out more about Helen and the organisation's work at Good Things Foundation, follow her on LinkedIn and visit the Good Things Foundation website.
Please subscribe to the Mobile UK YouTube channel for notifications of future episodes, and remember, you can nominate guests for future episodes by getting in touch: MobileUK@purplefish.agency.
About Building Mobile Britain
Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.
See here for further information - or #BuildingMobileBritain
Head of Policy and Communications
Tel: 07887 911 076