Step into the Data Poverty Lab

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen fantastic initiatives spring up all over the country to tackle data poverty. We want to build on these emergency responses and collaborate with public, private and community sector organisations to develop sustainable solutions to end data poverty. We want to fix the digital divide.

More and more services are moving online, accelerated by the pandemic. Lockdown has left millions isolated, unable to see family and friends or even go to the supermarket. Being offline during Covid means you can’t connect with loved ones, you can’t shop online, and you can’t help your children to learn from home.

In our Blueprint for a 100% Digitally Included UK, we reflected on the hundreds of requests we received through community partners for support with access to data connectivity. Whilst there were some common themes – we noticed that the causes of data poverty were diverse, so the solutions must be as well. 

But there’s still so much more that we need to learn. That’s why we’re expanding our research efforts, looking into the extent and depth of data poverty to identify gaps, areas to focus ideas, collect evidence, and collaborate on innovative solutions.

A pyramid-shaped diagram showing what people need to end data poverty. Firstly, access to devices. Secondly, access to good quality, affordable connectivity. Finally, basic digital skills, all to achieve their goals.

We see data poverty as being one part of the digital exclusion pyramid, alongside devices, basic digital skills, and personal motivation. When people come to one of our community partners for support, they usually have a specific goal in mind. 

Our existing programmes – Everyone Connected for devices, our Online Centres Network, Learn My Way and Make It Click for digital skills – help people to achieve these goals. By convening communities and organisations to build upon the many fantastic emergency initiatives, the Data Poverty Lab will develop ideas for sustainable, long-term solutions to data poverty – and help to fix the digital divide.

We’ll work directly with people with lived experience of data poverty to understand which solutions work best for their communities. We’ll use our links with businesses, policymakers and Government – national and local – to get these solutions delivered. And if we all work together, we think we can end data poverty by 2024.

Together, we want to:

Collaborate We want to understand where there may be overlaps or duplication so we can collaborate.

Coordinate We want to collate knowledge on what’s already happening, and work with others on a coordinated approach to data poverty. Understanding how different solutions can work alongside each other.

Amplify We want to raise awareness of data poverty with businesses, the Government, and others by amplifying the voices of those experiencing and working in data poverty.