City Hall is to fund a tablet lending scheme which it’s hoped will enable more older and socially excluded Londoners, as well as pupils on free school meals, to get online.
According to a Greater London Authority briefing paper, a quarter of disabled and economically inactive Londoners, as well as one in ten from BAME communities in London have “never used the internet” while one in four in the C2DE demographic lack basic digital skills.
Those who lack access to the internet are at risk of missing out on the best deals which are often only available online, and may also suffer from reduced job opportunities and be more at risk of social exclusion and isolation.
The £50,000 scheme, which is expected to be up and running by June this year, will build on Mayor Sadiq Khan’s election pledge to reduce digital exclusion.
During the pilot phase at least 70 tablets will be lent to qualifying Londoners by local libraries and community centres and scheme users would be encouraged to complete a basic digital skills course.
The ‘Mi Wifi’ project is being designed to be easy to scale up so that, if successful, it can be rolled out across London.