Good Things Foundation, the UK’s leading digital inclusion charity, and Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA), the trade association for UK’s broadband providers, have announced they will be partnering together in 2022 to help fix the digital divide.
Digital inclusion remains a significant challenge to the UK with more than 10 million people lacking basic digital skills. This disproportionately affects those with low household income or low educational attainment. It is a problem only magnified by the response to COVID-19 and our reliance on good quality connectivity for work, education, entertainment and to keep in touch with our friends and family.
The ISP industry has long been alive to the importance of digital inclusion. Many providers offer a social tariff to financially vulnerable customers or provide low-cost entry-level broadband packages - and ‘unlimited’ data is generally provided as standard by fixed broadband providers. In addition to this, many ISPA members are helping address the digital divide by donating free data or devices to charities or work in local communities through schools, voluntary organisations. Yet there is always more to do.
The broadband sector is undergoing significant change, with scores of new providers joining established names in upgrading the UK to gigabit-capable, full fibre broadband. Several ISPA members already partner with Good Things Foundation and ISPA will seek to build on and complement these existing efforts by raising the current level of support across the breadth of the sector.
In selecting Good Things Foundation as ISPA’s Charity Partner of 2022, ISPA commits to:
- Encouraging members to donate used devices to be cleaned of data, refurbished and distributed to digitally excluded people who need them
- Setting up a dedicated donation page for financial donations for members who want to donate money instead of, or as well as, devices
- Gaining a clear picture of how ISPA members and the broadband sector is helping to fix the digital divide at a national and local level
- Raising awareness of the challenges of digital exclusion within industry members, and how they can help through fundraising/device donation
- Identifying and championing the best Digital Inclusion initiatives through the Digital Inclusion Award at the 2022 ISPA Awards
- Providing opportunities to feature at ISPA’s events throughout the year, featuring in appropriate panel discussion, exhibiting or featuring branding at the event
- Identifying national and local initiatives by ISPA members, such as running workshops with Good Things Foundation’s community partners
Andrew Glover, ISPA Chair, commented:
“I am really pleased that ISPA is partnering with Good Things Foundation to help play our part in overcoming the digital divide. ISPA was delighted to crown Helen Milner, CEO of Good Things Foundation, our Internet Hero in 2021 and we are pleased to build on this and take the digital inclusion message out across our membership. We are excited about what we will deliver together with our charity partner across the year”
Helen Milner quote:
“Digital exclusion remains a huge issue in the UK as we emerge from the pandemic, with many still isolated without the skills and connectivity they need to thrive. We know that businesses - particularly broadband providers - have a huge role to play in helping us to close this divide, which is why we’re so pleased to be working with ISPA on this exciting partnership that we hope will have a significant impact”
Good Things Foundation
Good Things Foundation works with thousands of community partners to reach those in greatest need. Since 2010, the charity has helped over 3 million people to be happier, healthier and better off through increased digital participation. Over 80% of those we support face forms of social exclusion, including unemployment, poverty, disability and homelessness.
Good Things Foundation leads a national network for digital inclusion - the Online Centres Network - providing a range of free services (advice, learning resources, collateral, and online learning platforms) that enable community organisations to build digital inclusion into the social support they provide for vulnerable people in their local area. Our learning platforms Learn My Way and Make It Click are used by 200,000 people each year.
The charity is also active in advocacy and thought leadership, working with Government and influential organisations in the corporate and charity sector to raise awareness of digital exclusion and identify new ways to build digital inclusion and skills into policy, programmes and social interventions.
ISPA is the UK trade association for providers of internet services. We represent more than 150 companies and organisations, ranging from large household names and global businesses, to SMEs and start-ups. Our members keep the UK connected and provide broadband, hosting and a wide range of other services to consumers and businesses. We are proud to represent the breadth of the industry, from those that build infrastructure, connect us through networks, resell connectivity to end users, provide cloud services and more besides.
ISPA brings together the UK internet industry to provide essential support through innovation, knowledge, and experience in order to benefit the UK economy and society. Promoting collaboration and constructive dialogue between its members and the wider internet community, ISPA is an all-important driving force for the industry and relevant stakeholders.