Birmingham news How to get cheap tech and broadband before the kids return to school MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Homeschooling ends on March 8 - if you’re on Universal Credit, eligible for Free School Meals or living in social housing, you may be eligible for unlimited data packages, free internet training, free routers, laptops and tablets and more plus there's a way for everyone to get unlimited broadband
Breaking News ! Many big tech and broadband companies are offering seriously reduced packages to try to get more kids online during lockdown and beyond. Homeschooling has really highlighted the extent of the 'digital divide' in Birmingham and the Black Country with around one-fifth of people in the region not using the internet, according to a study by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). But there are options for low income families - you just need to know where to find them. Children using a laptop (Image: We Are Digital) "Home schooling has exposed the digital skills gap faced by many parents - especially in the West Midlands, where 20 per cent of residents don't use the internet at all according to recent research," said Matt Adam, chief executive at We Are Digital, a Coventry-based organisation which works with some of the UK's largest housing associations, councils, charities and businesses to deliver digital skills training. "With schools set to reopen in March, there are a number of ways parents can improve their skills to keep up with their kids - more than ever before as a result of the pandemic." Here are some of the best deals Get Virgin broadband for £15 a month You can get unlimited data usage for £15 a month on Virgin Media’s Essential Broadband plan if you are receiving Universal Credit from the Government. It’s on a 30-day rolling contract and is a broadband-only package. Find out more here At BirminghamLive, we're trying to help by teaming up with the Birmingham branch of the Digital Education Partnership (BEP) to try to get as many old laptops as possible donated for redistribution to schools and onto children who need them as part of our Laptops4Kids campaign. Please help by donating money here or donating an old laptop here BirminghamLive's Laptops4Kids campaign (Image: PA) All caps lifted on BT unlimited data packages From February 2020, all caps on broadband packages are being lifted by BT to give every customer unlimited data due to the pressures of the Covid lockdowns. All customers who currently have limited broadband packages will automatically get unlimited data. This is a permanent change, BT will no longer have limited broadband packages. This means that, if you're a BT customer, you'll no longer incur charges if you go over your data limit. And you don’t need to do anything, the unlimited data will be applied automatically. Find out more here Get unlimited mobile data EE, Three and Vodafone are giving out unlimited extra data, which is applied on top of monthly plans for parents with disadvantaged children. Customers of 02, Sky Mobile, SMARTY, Tesco Mobile and Virgin Mobile can also benefit from free mobile data increases to support disadvantaged pupils in Years 3 to 11 who rely on a mobile internet connection. Check with your mobile phone service provider to see if you are eligible for unlimited data. Donate money or a laptop for kids who need them With schools closed due to Covid-19, thousands of children in Birmingham are in need of laptops to continue their learning. They are falling behind in their studies through no fault of their own - because they are unable to access lessons being put on by schools. BirminghamLive is supporting efforts, through the Digital Education Partnership, to raise funds and laptop donations to support pupils and get them learning again.
Free BT WiFi vouchers on offer On top of lifting its data caps, BT is also offering free BT WiFi vouchers worth £39 a month for internet access. You can apply for these through your childs’ school for pupils aged 16 and under who don’t have internet access at home. Each Wi-Fi voucher code allows access to the internet on up to three devices at a time, for free, until the end of July 2021. Vouchers are allocated in proportion to the number of pupils at a school who are eligible for free school meals, capped at a maximum of 60 vouchers per school. Find out more here Get free training and advice on how to use the internet Some banks are helping their customers get online over the pandemic by offering free advice and training sessions. Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) customers can call the We Are Digital helpline on 0345 222 0333 for free advice on using the internet, home education, equipment help or data issues. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Topics include staying safe online, connecting with family and friends, advice on online shopping and NHS appointment booking websites together with internet banking. Find out more here And Barclays’ Digital Eagles programme offers local community digital device and internet training and support, particularly for kids and people in care homes. Find out more here
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Claim a free 4G router, laptop or tablet from the government Pupils without fixed broadband access can claim a 4G router, laptops and tablets through their schools - available again to families children and young adults most in need. Devices are currently being provided for disadvantaged children and young people in years 3 to 13 who do not have access to a device and whose face-to-face education is disrupted. There are also devices available for those in further education aged 16 to 19 and those aged over 19 with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Find out more here Get free internet tuition from your landlord If you live in social housing, you may find your landlord offers free internet tuition. Bournville Village Trust offers help to get its tenants online by signposting them to college courses and computer access groups - find out more here. Accord offers a similar service here as does AC Assistance CIC here And you can get help accessing essential online services from social impact business We Are Digital, based in Coventry. Find out more here Don't struggle in silence. Get in touch via our Brummie Mummies Facebook page or by emailing email@example.com
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