As Vodafone reaches its goal to provide connectivity to one million digitally excluded people by the end of 2022, Vodafone’s UK Chief Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Officer explains why the campaign is so important and how the company plans to extend it.
We said we’d make tackling the digital divide core to our purpose as a company, and we meant it. And so, as we reach our one million milestone, I’m immensely proud of the team that made this happen, but also not surprised.
When we really put our minds to something and work together as a team – our colleagues along with our brilliant charity partners – we can deliver amazing results.
But I’m cautious about sounding too self-congratulatory. The digital divide still exists – 1.7 million households in the UK remain digitally disconnected. There’s plenty more work to do.
Which is why it’s really exciting to be extending the everyone.connected campaign, building on the one million milestone and pledging to help a total of four million people cross the digital divide by 2025.
You’d think by now we wouldn’t need reminding how essential connectivity is and just how debilitating digital exclusion can be. But research we’ve commissioned reveals that three-fifths of people surveyed think digital exclusion is just about affordability, when it’s so much more than that.
Those who find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide can be all ages, all nationalities, and from all walks of life: unemployed, sick, homeless, lonely, fleeing from war, victims of domestic abuse or online bullying, or just confused by the modern world.
This is why we teamed up with celebrity photographer Rankin to bring this point home and raise awareness of the wide range of people digital exclusion can affect. Each of the scenarios behind these moving ‘Faces of Disconnection’ photos tells a different story, but all of them vividly illustrate the reality of the digital divide for too many people.