How Community Fibre is helping to bridge the digital poverty gap

How Community Fibre is helping to bridge the digital poverty gap

Date: 12/09/23

Author: Anthony Harrison

What is Digital Poverty?  

Digital poverty refers to the lack of access to essential digital tools and resources, like the internet and devices needed for full participation in today’s digital society. It disproportionately affects marginalized communities, rural areas, and low-income households. This issue ties in closely with the digital divide, which is the gap between those with access to these technologies and those without access.   

At Community Fibre, we believe that everyone should have access to better, more affordable broadband. That’s why we’re on a mission to help bridge the digital divide in the London communities we serve. From free coding skills for schools to free 1 Gbps connections for local community spaces and continuing to offer London’s most affordable and accessible broadband tariffs, read on to learn more about how we’re actively helping to reduce digital poverty across the capital.  


We're offering free 1 Gbps full fibre broadband to community spaces

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We understand that not everyone will have the necessary devices to access the internet to complete projects, sign up for services, and stay in contact with friends and family. We also feel that those without that hardware shouldn’t have to travel far or pay more than they can afford to get online. That’s why, as our network expands, we’re continuing to grow our Digital Investment Programme; one of our key, ongoing missions is connecting community spaces within the communities we serve.   

With over 500 community spaces now connected with our 1 Gbps Fibre Broadband, Londoners are (on average) only a matter of metres away from free, fast and reliable internet.   

We’re providing the most accessible and affordable social broadband package on the market

Sadly, in the current challenging economic times we find ourselves in, many Londoners are struggling to pay for basic internet access and, to rub salt into the wound, social tariff broadband qualification criteria often overlook pensioners, frequently the most vulnerable households.   

Unlike most competitors who restrict eligibility for these social tariffs, we believe it should be visible and available to all. That’s why we’ve put it in clear view on our website homepage and don’t put up barriers like proof of income support or benefits.   

We’re really pleased that our Essential 35 Mbps Fibre Broadband is the most affordable and accessible broadband social tariff on the market, giving all who need access to the internet with 35 Mbps full fibre broadband for just £12.50/month (correct as of 11th September 2023).  


We’re empowering London communities through digital inclusion

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We’re passionate about giving back to the communities we serve — it’s in our name, after all. We train London residents to become qualified Digital Ambassadors through our Digital Ambassadors Programme. Our fantastic Digital Ambassadors help residents in every facet of the online world. Whether you’re just starting with email writing and social media or dreaming of creating your own website, your local Digital Ambassador is a treasure trove of expertise. 

In the past 12 months, our Digital Investment team (with the help of our Digital Ambassadors) have:

  • Delivered over 744 hours of digital skills training   

  • Delivered 186 local digital skills workshops   

  • Increased our volunteering base by 19%   

(Correct as of 11th September 2023)    


We’re offering free coding for primary schools

During the school holidays, 100 kids and teens had the fantastic opportunity to deep-dive into free coding sessions to boost their skills or learn new ones.   

We partnered with The Code Zone to deliver live sessions tailored for children aged 8-14. Guided by expert mentors who assisted groups of up to six kids, the groups explored “hacking” and “modding” tasks using a featured game. In the Hacker sessions (ideal for beginners aged 8-10), children collaborated with mentors to customize games like Space Invaders and Pacman using Scratch  

For those with some coding experience, our Modder sessions (for ages 11-14) offered an engaging challenge, modding pre-built games and grasping the fundamentals of game mechanics to progress towards becoming pro coders.    

As a bonus, every participant gained access to The Code Zone’s extensive library of coding challenges and games throughout the six-week holiday period.     

We’re helping Londoners stay safe online

When all is said and done, there is no point in spending your hard-earned money on a new laptop or mobile only to fall prey to an online scam. That’s why we’ve partnered with Age UK to give you their best tips on how to spot a scam. From the obvious, like persistently asking for personal information or remote access to your devices, to the more subtle, like spelling or grammar mistakes, our guide will give you an edge the next time scammers come knocking on your inbox.   

We’re delivering online safety workshops for schools

We’re thrilled to announce our latest corporate collaboration with ChildNet, a prominent UK organization dedicated to creating a secure and positive online environment for children and young individuals. Together, we’re teaming up to give online safety workshops in primary schools across London.  


Why is it important to bridge the digital divide?   

Reducing digital poverty is crucial because access to digital resources is essential for education, job opportunities, healthcare, and social engagement in our increasingly interconnected world. Bridging this divide can empower individuals and communities by unlocking a world of possibilities and levelling the playing field for all.  

Together, we can ensure that no one is left behind in the digital age.  


Frequently asked questions 

We’re sure you have many questions about everything we’ve covered. Read on if you’re looking for quick answers to questions about our work to reduce digital poverty. 


What do Community Fibre’s Digital Ambassadors do?  

Our Digital Ambassadors are a qualified, rich source of free advice and guidance on all aspects of being online. They’re here to help locals with all the following:  

Basic digital skills, accessing council, health and wellbeing services, social media, technology and entertainment uses, cyber security, using office programs (Google and Microsoft), using web browsers, PC housekeeping, online safety, employment and training skills.  


Can I become a Digital Ambassador?  

Absolutely! If you’d like to become a Digital Ambassador yourself and give back to your local community, we can offer you free digital skills training. To get started, register for one of our interactive webinar sessions to learn more about the Digital Ambassadors Programme, visit Eventbrite and search for ‘Introducing Community Fibre Digital Ambassadors.’ 


What free digital skills training does Community Fibre offer?  

From foundational online skills to valuable financial insights and a wealth of other resources, we’ve partnered with the Good Things Foundation to enhance accessibility to the advantages of digital technology. Our digital skills hub offers a diverse selection of over 100 free courses, making it an ideal destination for boosting your online confidence and acquiring new skills. 

The range of courses includes:    

Using your device, online basics online safety documents, spreadsheets and presentations, finding a job online, your health online, managing your money, staying in touch online, and online entertainment. To get started, check out our Digital Skills page. 


How do I sign up my community space to Community Fibre?  

We’ve partnered with multiple local councils and property owners to provide complimentary 100% full fibre broadband, delivering speeds up to 1 Gbps to community hubs, housing associations, and libraries.   

If you’d like to connect your local community space, get in touch with our Community Investment team at [email protected]. You can also read our FAQ here, covering more information on which landlords and councils we have partnered with.