TalkTalk offers jobseekers six months of free broadband: We reveal what you need to know and how to apply
TalkTalk is giving jobseekers across Britain six months of free access to broadband in a bid to help them find employment.
The new voucher scheme, in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions, aims to tackle digital exclusion and remove barriers to employment.
While DWP Jobcentres remained open to support the most vulnerable in society throughout the pandemic, many of the training and job support was moved online – making an internet connection even more important for those searching for work.
As a result, TalkTalk and the DWP trialled a voucher scheme for free broadband in Greater Manchester and Cheshire at the start of the second UK lockdown last year to support jobseekers who were stuck at home.
Those looking for work are being offered six months free broadband by TalkTalk and the DWP
Following a successful trial in the North West, which saw people secure new employment as well as undertake training opportunities, TalkTalk is now rolling out the scheme on a national scale to all Jobcentre Plus work coaches to offer jobseekers.
This is Money takes a look at how the scheme works.
How will the scheme work?
The Flexible Support Fund is a DWP fund offered by local Jobcentres at the discretion of ‘work coaches’ who will identify and refer participants based on their need.
Jobseekers who think they are eligible will have to raise it with their coaches at the job centre to show interest.
TalkTalk will provide referral codes to the DWP, which the DWP distribute to eligible customers so they can use them to pre-pay the service from the fund.
The customers then call TalkTalk directly using a dedicated number to redeem these codes.
Jobseekers will be given a no-contract voucher for six months of TalkTalk’s Fibre35 broadband which has maximum speeds of up to 40mbs.
Users will benefit from Wi-Fi connection across the whole household via a router with security and online safety packages are included as part of the service.
The product’s usage is uncapped, meaning there are no data usage limits.
TalkTalk says the voucher scheme could be applied to other digitally excluded communities
However, customers are unable to add optional extras , for example, TV services. Voice calls are also not part of the package.
At the end of the six-month period, customers can choose to roll onto a contract with TalkTalk, or can cancel the service and will incur no additional costs or sign-up fees once it comes to an end.
Daniel Kasmir, Chief People and Procurement Officer at TalkTalk, said: ‘We believe that reliable broadband is a right not a privilege.
‘However, many people across the UK are struggling to access to the internet, with the effects of the pandemic leading to the number of Universal Credit claimants doubling within a year.
‘The successful trial of this scheme in the North West demonstrates the value of broadband to those seeking jobs.
‘Working with the DWP to roll this scheme out nationally supports our mission to democratise the internet and bring affordable, high-quality connectivity to everyone, helping to erase the UK’s digital divide.’
Mims Davies, Minister for Employment, added: ‘We want to support jobseekers in any way we can on their journey to securing employment, which includes levelling up opportunities by making sure they are digitally connected and can access the full range of support offered by our Plan for Jobs and our JobHelp website.’
TalkTalk believes the voucher scheme could be applied more broadly to other digitally excluded communities and will be exploring options with schools and councils to adapt the scheme for specific groups.
Phone network, Voxi, also offers help to jobseekers, giving them unlimited data, calls and texts for £10 a month to help them find work for up to six months.