Nicki Lyons, Vodafone's UK Director of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, explains how the company is fulfilling its mission to connect the disconnected and support vulnerable people.
It was a great pleasure speaking with other digital leaders at the 17th National Digital Conference this week. The theme, ‘Digital is for Everyone’, addressed a subject I feel passionate about – tackling the digital divide.
Around 1.5 million households in the UK don’t have internet access – either mobile or fixed line – and around 12 million lack the digital skills necessary to make the most of our online, connected world. This digital exclusion exacerbates poverty and sees people slipping further behind.
So in response to this serious challenge, we launched our everyone.connected campaign, with the ambitious aim to connect a million digitally excluded people by the end of 2022. I’m pleased to report that we’re well on the way to achieving that.
The campaign has reached more than 350,000 people in need so far. And it’s gratifying to note that everyone.connected has just been shortlisted in the Mobile Industry Awards 2022 ‘CSR Initiative of the Year’ category.
But we also realise affordability is an issue for many people struggling to cope with the economic impact of the pandemic and the current cost of living crisis. Earlier this year, our youth brand VOXI launched VOXI For Now, a low-cost unlimited 5G data, calls and texts tariff for those on benefits, and we’ve refreshed our Vodafone Basics range of lower-cost tariffs, too.