Partnering to bring an end to Data Poverty
A new Data Poverty Lab - supported by Nominet - will bring together people, groups and ideas from across the UK, to help end data poverty by 2024.
The Lab is being convened by a partnership between leading UK and international digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation and Nominet, the official registry for UK domain names.
It will link with and build upon research, ideas and initiatives already in this space, and involve people with lived experience of poverty in developing effective, sustainable and innovative solutions.
Data poverty is the inability to afford a sufficient, private and secure internet connection to meet essential needs.
In the UK, which has the fifth largest economy in the world, data poverty is leaving communities behind – and seriously threatens to thwart government ambitions to level up.
61% of people agree that internet access by fixed line or mobile should be recognised as an essential utility, like electricity; and 47% would donate unused data to low income families in the UK (Ipsos MORI research for Good Things Foundation, 2020).
The launch of the Lab comes at a crucial time; more and more services are moving online, accelerated by the global pandemic.
Lockdown left millions isolated, unable to see family and friends or even go to the supermarket. As society begins to open up again, we need to make sure that no-one is left behind as we move towards a transformed, more digital world.
The Lab will also work with providers, politicians and policymakers to ensure policies are inclusive and informed by insight and the experiences of adults living in day-to-day data poverty.
Helen Milner OBE, Chief Executive, Good Things Foundation, said:
“Data poverty has always existed, but COVID-19 has made it visible. Now is the time for all of us to come together to address this issue decisively and in a coherent way. The digital economy is here to stay – we must make sure make sure every community can benefit.
“We’re delighted to be working closely with Nominet on our shared ambition to end data poverty for good – shaped and guided throughout by people who truly know what it’s like to be locked out of opportunity and hope by a lack of internet access.”
Ellie Bradley, MD of Registry & Public Benefit, Nominet, said:
“We’ve been working with Good Things Foundation for some time now on the eradication of data poverty in the UK, a problem which has shown itself to be even more critical as the world has moved resolutely online. The Data Poverty Lab is a pivotal part of achieving that aim, and in a way that galvanises everyone concerned, from providers to politicians.”
Nominet is also partnering with Good Things Foundation on the Everyone Connected programme, which aims to help people whose lives are severely affected by digital exclusion and the Covid-19 pandemic. Thanks to its support, 1,000 disadvantaged people will receive a device and connectivity, helping them to get up and running online by ensuring they have the tools and training they need.
The Data Poverty Lab is a continuation of collaboration between Good Things Foundation and Nominet. The two organisations have worked with others to tackle the digital divide and data poverty through DevicesDotNow (an emergency appeal in response to COVID-19) and also Reboot, which helps local organisations and schools access unused devices in an efficient and cost-effective way.