To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer 11 September 2020 to Question 86651 on Children: Internet, whether that Answer refers only to those eligible or to all children of school age who do not have access to the internet.
The answer previously given refers to the children and young people that could receive devices through the scheme: disadvantaged pupils in year 10, children with a social worker and care leavers.
In addition to providing 4G wireless routers, the Department is running pilots to provide internet connectivity to disadvantaged families with children aged from early years to 16 years old. In partnership with BT, the Department has launched a service to provide children and young people free access to BT wifi hotspots. Through the pilot, up to 10,000 families are able to access a BT wifi connection. We have expanded this offer for the autumn term, to allow more children to access the internet through their network of BT wifi hotspots, if they need access to the internet for remote education.
The Department is also working with the major telecommunications companies to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged families who rely on a mobile internet connection. We are piloting an approach where mobile network operators are providing temporary access to free additional data offering families more flexibility to access the resources that they need the most.