Earlier this year, many major internet providers agreed a social broadband package for those in receipt of certain benefits, to ensure that everyone had the opportunity to be digitally connected.
Commenting on a recent report from OFCOM, Mr Robinson said:
“I welcome the news that Vodafone are providing small businesses with the opportunity to access free broadband. Reliable mobile connectivity is essential and critical to the success of small businesses.
I would also encourage those in receipt of receipt of Universal Credit and Pension Credit to give consideration to the social broadband tariffs provided by a number of internet providers.
The global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns brought attention to the digital gap that exists across households. While many households shifted daily activities including work, school, socialising, and medical appointments online, many low-income homes lacked internet access and were isolated from the digital world.
The UK government reached a deal with major providers like Sky, BT, Virgin Media, and Now to provide a discounted social tariff, which is less expensive than standard broadband bundles, in order to address this issue.
These social tariffs serve as a safety net for homes that might otherwise find it difficult to pay for broadband services. An estimated 4.2 million households in the UK are eligible, according to research by the telecoms regulator, Ofcom.
In my constituency of East Belfast, there are over 6,500 claimants of Universal Credit, many of whom may not be aware that they are eligible for cheaper broadband. A reduction in broadband bills could help some of the most vulnerable stay connected during our cost of living crisis.
Access to broadband is vital for learning, for work and for staying connected. I would encourage people who get Universal Credit or Pension Credit to speak with their broadband providers about switching to a more affordable plan.”