Porritt: Mobile networks must give free access to home-learning websites

Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London, Luisa Porritt, has called on mobile networks to provide children in need with free access to home-learning websites.

In a letter to the CEOs of the UK’s four largest mobile network providers (EE, O2, Three and Vodafone), Porritt is requesting that zero-rating, which has already been provided for the government’s public health websites, be extended to educational websites like BBC Bitesize.

With the sudden recent closure of in-person schooling, this would allow children from families on low-incomes to access the information they need.

Around a million school children in the UK are believed to be reliant on mobile data for their remote learning, with as much as a fifth struggling to pay for these services.

Luisa Porritt, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London, said:

“With a fresh lockdown and the virus out of control again, particularly in London, it’s never been more important for government, business and society to work together to help get those most in need through this difficult time.

“We must protect our children’s education from the impact of this pandemic. That’s why I’ve asked mobile network providers to do their bit by providing free access to home-learning websites.

“It’s easy to do: network providers have already provided this free-of-charge service to help families on low incomes access vital information on the government’s public health advice. Now it’s time to ensure all children, regardless of their household income or level of internet access, can get the best education possible over the coming weeks.”

Hina Bokhari, experienced teacher and Liberal Democrat candidate for London Assembly, added:

“As an ex-teacher, I know the power of education to transform lives and how important it is to ensure that no child is left behind by the move to remote learning.

“With the financial pressures that many parents are under, zero-rating key educational resources would be a lifeline for our most vulnerable children and help teachers offer the most effective schooling during this tough lockdown period.”

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