Virgin Media O2 is helping thousands of people affected by data poverty to get online with free WiFi through a multi-year partnership with technology charity, Jangala.
Building on their existing relationship formed in March 2022, the company is expanding its work with Jangala by rolling out 5,000 internet-enabling ‘Get Boxes’ to households, community centres, refuges, and homeless shelters across the UK.
A Get Box, powered by O2 mobile data, provides a fast and reliable connection to help those in need access the internet and keep in touch with loved ones.
The O2 mobile data is from the National Databank, founded by Virgin Media O2 and charity, Good Things Foundation, which is like a foodbank but provides free O2 data, texts and calls to those who need it.
Stepping up for people in need
Get Boxes will be sent to schools, charities, and other community initiatives and then distributed to households that need them most.
They will also be sent to temporary accommodation sites as the technology can provide connectivity for over 20 people at a time. For example, Get Boxes are being used at a domestic abuse refuge centre in Coventry, helping victims to access essential online services to help them rebuild their lives.
This partnership builds on Virgin Media O2’s existing support of Jangala’s global Emergency Response programme, where the company provides funding and O2 data for Jangala’s award-winning Big Boxes. Big Boxes are deployed during global humanitarian crises, enabling disaster response teams and communities to access WiFi, including the tragic earthquake in Türkiye and Syria earlier this year.
On top of this, Virgin Media O2 has committed more than 61 million GB of O2 data to the National Databank, where those who need it can access 20GB of free O2 mobile data per month for six months at more than 1,500 National Databank Hubs across the UK.
Dana Haidan, Chief Sustainability Officer at Virgin Media O2, said:
“Through our partnership with Jangala, we’ll help thousands of low-income families and people who would otherwise be unconnected to get online via free fast and reliable WiFi so they can access essential services, like booking medical appointments or applying for work, or staying in touch with their loved ones.
“It builds on the measures Virgin Media O2 is taking to tackle data poverty. Whether it’s free O2 data from the National Databank, rehoming devices and data with people who need them, or offering great value broadband plans for people receiving benefits, we’re continuing to help people in need stay connected.”
Rich Thanki, MD at Jangala, commented:
“Jangala’s collaboration with Virgin Media O2 really shows the power of partnership when addressing systemic challenges. Together, we’re offering a lifeline of connectivity to those who need it most, be it for education, health, or safety. The digital divide is much more than a technology statistic; it’s a gulf that separates people and our society. We are grateful for the support of Virgin Media O2 and look forward to scaling up our critical work together to help tackle the UK digital divide.”