Get internet access
Schools, trusts and local authorities can help disadvantaged children get online using free mobile data increases or 4G wireless routers provided by the Department for Education. You can request this support if each of the following applies:
- there’s disruption to face-to-face education
- disadvantaged children and young people do not have access to the internet at home
- your organisation has been invited to order laptops and tablets
Mobile data increases are not currently available to young people over the age of 16 in sixth-forms and further education.
Increasing data allowances on mobile phones
This scheme temporarily increases data allowances for mobile phone users on certain networks. This will allow other devices to connect to the internet via a mobile phone so children and young people can access remote education if their face-to-face education is disrupted.
This support is now available to all schools with children in years 3 to 11.
4G wireless routers
Schools, colleges, further education providers, trusts and local authorities in England can request 4G wireless routers for disadvantaged pupils and students who are experiencing disruption to face-to-face education and do not have fixed broadband or access to the internet at home.
The process for ordering 4G wireless routers is different to that for ordering laptops and tablets. Routers may be dispatched separately to any laptops and tablets you order, and may arrive at a later date.
If you’ve already received routers or are waiting for a delivery, please read the guidance on preparing 4G routers for information on technical support, security and data limits.
Offering free access to BT wifi hotspots
This pilot has now closed.
BT created 10,000 hotspot log-ins that could be activated through name/password combinations. If children and young people lived in range of a BT hotspot, their school offered them log-in details for free.
When we tested this scheme, we found the majority of users could not get a reliable BT wifi connection. As a result, we decided to close the pilot.
All BT vouchers distributed expired at the end of December 2020.