One-in-three families feel excluded from internet during Covid emergency, east London research shows

Bags of cables and techie stuff... ready to install broadband in the home. Picture: Community Fibre

Bags of cables and techie stuff... ready to install broadband in the home. Picture: Community Fibre - Credit: Community Fibre

A “digital divide” has opened up since the Covid emergency with a survey in east London revealing broadband in the home now seen as just as essential as gas, water and electric mains — but is excluding one-in-three families.

Some 37 per cent of those taking part in the survey in Tower Hamlets alone still feel excluded because they don’t know how to join WhatsApp groups, get on social media or even use emails.

Around seven-out-of-10 also get annoyed at a lack of broadband connection as much as lack of hot water or heating in the home, according to the survey by Community Fibre marking the 20th anniversary of broadband in Britain.

“The pandemic has shown the need to be connected,” Community Fibre’s Graeme Oxby said. “We have been working with vulnerable people to get them hooked up and also offering NHS workers discount rates.”

Most feel strongly that broadband should be “a basic human right” but is still overpriced, the research has found.


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Data from the Office of National Statistics last year showed nearly eight out of every 100 adults had never used the Internet.

So the company is running courses online to help jump across the digital gap.

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But then, you have to know how to get online in the first place.

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