O2 launches campaign to highlight UK’s digital divide

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Telecom Operator O2 Logo

With seven million digitally excluded people across the country still unable to access a web-connected device, O2 has unveiled a new campaign to bring attention to the UK’s ongoing digital divide.

Via a series of online and social media takeovers going live from today and running for three weeks until Wednesday, 24th March, O2’s latest campaign will highlight the plight of the seven million people across Britain who do not currently have access to a web-connected device.

While watching online videos, streaming music and ‘Liking’ social media posts are regular parts of everyday life for most Britons, a large portion of the population is still unable to enjoy these simple pleasures taken for granted by so many. Those unable to get online not only miss out on a range of support but are often prevented from reaching family and friends, applying for jobs or accessing essential tools to help with home schooling.

From today, as users visit popular video-sharing platforms, read the daily news online, scroll through their social media profiles or even search for potential matches on their favourite dating app, they will start to see messages from O2 outlining that the seven million people isolated by tech poverty in this country are unable to do the same.

Using a unique creative inspired by a computer error message – an everyday frustration for many but something that seven million digitally excluded people do not get the chance to experience – the campaign aims to promote O2’s ongoing Community Calling activity, which has proven to be a lifeline for those who are struggling as a result of the pandemic.

With 28 million smartphones sitting unused in homes and businesses, O2 is continuing its partnership with charity Hubbub, with the aim to gift 10,000 unused smartphones to vulnerable individuals in the most deprived areas of the country.

Nina Bibby, Chief Marketing Officer of O2, said: “At O2 we know how vital connectivity has been to millions of people this past year, whether that’s enabling them to work effectively from home, keeping in touch with loved ones or even just helping them to unwind with some online entertainment. We have also seen the devastating impact digital exclusion can have on the most vulnerable people, from loneliness to lack of access to essential services and we’re determined to raise awareness of this with our new digital campaign.

“The Community Calling project has already had such a positive impact on so many people’s lives and our latest campaign is just the latest step that O2 has taken to help our customers at this difficult time. I would encourage everyone in possession of a spare handset that is sitting unused at home or work to get in touch and help somebody in need to get connected.”

O2 is donating a web-connected handset and 12 months of free connectivity to all Community Calling beneficiaries, which will include unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data per month for a full year. This builds on the extensive range of initiatives O2 has already undertaken to help people across the UK, including:

Joining the Department for Education’s Get Help with Technology scheme, providing extra data to help with home schooling for families who are struggling to connect during lockdown
Zero rating a range of additional webpages that provide much-needed support, including samaritans.org
This year O2 is investing more than ever in its network to improve coverage and experience for all its customers across the UK
Allowing O2 customers free access to remote learning with Oak National Academy
Providing those O2 customers who are also NHS workers with an extra 50GB a month for the next two months
Providing free next-working-day delivery on all devices, sims and accessories while stores remain closed

Gift your phone

Anyone in the UK can get involved by donating unused smartphones. It’s easy to sign up online – you’ll receive a free-post donation box to post your old and workable smartphone, to be refurbished by trusted partner Reconome.

It will be data-wiped, sanitised and redistributed with user guides and PAYG SIM cards. Alternatively, those who don’t have an old smartphone can choose to donate the cost of one month’s top-up for the beneficiaries by visiting hubbub.org.uk/donate-data-to-community-calling-resources.

O2 and Hubbub are also encouraging businesses to support the campaign by organising bulk device donations, or providing collection boxes in their offices.


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