Belgian full-service telecoms operator Telenet has announced plans to introduce a low-cost internet plan for vulnerable families. Starting in December, the telco will partner with social organisations to launch trials of its EUR5 (USD5.88) a month ‘Telenet Essential Internet’ 4G fixed-wireless broadband solution with 700 families in two cities in Flanders and one in Brussels, before rolling out the project more widely in the two regions in the spring of 2021. The company will then look to further extend the programme to other disadvantaged households with no or only very limited internet connectivity at home, who will be identified with help from the social services agencies and non-profit groups working on reducing the digital divide.
Telenet CEO John Porter commented: ‘In our country, almost all households are covered via the fixed or mobile 4G network, and yet not everyone can enjoy internet access. This urgently needs to change. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced how important connectivity is and how people who do not have access to it get excluded. Based on our belief that technology is the engine of social progress, as a strongly locally anchored company, we are committed to helping break the digital divide that affects vulnerable audiences.’
Telenet will also continue to offer its Wi-Fi voucher programme that provides free internet access via more than 1.5 million Telenet WiFree hotspots through to at least 30 June 2021, following the resurgence in the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of the new school year. More than 6,000 families with school-age children in the Flanders and Brussels regions have already taken advantage of the scheme since March.