One year after the introduction of its ‘Essential Internet’ pilot project (launched initially in response to needs during the pandemic), Telenet is scaling up its basic internet programme for vulnerable families and single people:
- In cooperation with Ondernemers voor een Warm België, Telenet will collect 6,000 second-hand laptops, prepare them for reuse, and distribute them via social organisations
- Link in de Kabel is providing training courses in basic digital skills
- In total there will be a one million euro investment in hardware and training courses – Federal Minister of Telecommunications Petra De Sutter has allocated 500,000 euros, matched by Telenet.
Through social organisations committed to digital inclusion, Telenet originally offered basic internet at 5 euros per month to vulnerable target groups. Our Belgium subsidiary is now expanding the offer and is launching a second product at 10 euros per month for more intensive internet use, such as streaming.
Telenet launched its original programme in October 2020 as a pilot project in cooperation local civic organisations in Mechelen and Ghent. Following review and evaluation, the telecom operator is now rolling the service out in Flanders and Brussels.
Ann Caluwaerts, Telenet Executive Vice President, People, Brand & Corporate Affairs said: “Telenet has the technological expertise to offer a connectivity solution but we don’t have an answer to the digital divide. It is therefore critical we further develop and scale up our Essential Internet programme together with social organisations.”
Now five and ten Euro packages
Telenet is raising the data of basic internet to 50 GB at 5 euros per month. In addition, there will be a new product at 10 euros per month with higher speeds and capacity. Telenet has made a commitment not to increase the price. Those who go beyond the bundle will not be charged extra, but can continue using it at a lower speed. The needs of users will continue to be evaluated. Our social organisations continue to play an important role in the selection and referral of end users.
6,000 families receive laptops and social workers receive digital training
Telenet is enriching its ‘Essential Internet’ programme with an offer of quality second-hand laptops and basic skills training courses.
Ondernemers voor een Warm België has been collecting still-usable laptops from families and companies for some time now, refurbishing and distributing them via local organisations. The non-profit organisation already has more than 200 collection points, with Telenet retail outlets now being added, and plans to double the number with new partners.
Under the slogan ‘Turn your hardware into Heartware’, Telenet and Ondernemers voor een Warm België will amass 6,000 second-hand laptops through the various collection points and are also calling on the support of the business sector. Telenet will be donating 700 laptops and will also mobilise Telenet Business’ network to actively encourage companies to donate. Once the laptops are ready to use, they will be distributed to vulnerable families in Flanders, Brussels, and Wallonia via local agencies and inclusion organisations.
Link in de Kabel is offering sessions on digital skills for social workers with the aim to strengthen social inclusion by making vulnerable children and young people more digitally literate and resilient.
Thanks to the new investment and the additional subsidies, Telenet Essential Internet is using technology to encourage active participation in our digital society. Through these digital inclusion initiatives and connectivity solutions, Telecoms operator Telenet remains committed to making an effective contribution to this societal challenge.
Petra De Sutter, Federal Minister for Telecomunications said: “I am pleased to be able to present the project by Telenet, which tackles various aspects of the digital divide. The focus is on access to the internet, learning digital skills and reducing the threshold for purchasing equipment. The federal government is supporting the project’s laptop and digital skills modules with 500,000 euros to support digital inclusion.
Social organisations interested in becoming a partner can submit an application here:
More information on how to donate old laptops can be found here: