UK Labour MP calls for new ‘social tariff’ for broadband to bridge digital divide

The UK House of Commons Business Select Committee Chairman Darren Jones will propose a new private member’s bill that will seek to introduce a new low-cost ‘social tariff’ (which help families across the UK pay for their energy) for broadband, focused on families with children on free school meals (i.e. disadvantaged groups). The new bill, which will be proposed during Jones’ Ten-Minute Rule Bill on 20 January 2021, is supported by three former culture secretaries. It seeks to encourage the Office of Communications (Ofcom) to set a regulated social tariff, which could potentially apply industry-wide. ‘Temporary uplifts to mobile data and free access to certain educational websites during the lockdown are important, but temporary. We need a long-term solution to digital poverty in our country, especially for children who need internet access for educational purposes. By offering routes to low-cost internet access, we can ensure that no parent will have to choose between feeding their children or helping them to learn online,’ said Jones.