Telenet is partnering with social organizations in Belgium to launch a pilot of its ‘Telenet Essential Internet’ solution – a basic internet package for vulnerable groups who have no internet or only a very limited connection at home. It will be available at the fixed rate of 5 euros per month.

Launching in December, the package will be offered through social organizations such as the Public Centres for Social Welfare (OMCW), and other bodies that are committed to digital inclusion. It will be tested in Mechelen first, with another city in Flanders and Brussels to follow, before being rolled out more widely in both regions in 2021.

Telenet will continue to offer a Wi-Fi voucher programme that allows families with school-age children to connect to the internet via the company’s 1.5 million Wi-Fi locations, free of charge. Over 6,000 families from Flanders and Brussels have already take advantage of this offer since it was introduced earlier this year.

The project is part of Telenet’s focus on digital inclusivity, and follows a similar announcement from the UK’s Virgin Media last month, where a ‘no-frills’ broadband package for vulnerable customers was introduced.

Telenet CEO, John Porter said: “Due to 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 groups.”

Aiming to help 10,000 families by end of the year

‘Telenet Essential Internet’ uses a small device that converts a 4G mobile phone signal into a Wi-Fi signal, which families can use to surf the internet at home. From December, Telenet wants to test the solution with 700 families in Flanders and Brussels, in close consultation with local social organizations, The aim is to help a total of 10,000 vulnerable families in Belgium by the end of next year.

An integrated approach

The package will also include hardware, such as laptops, and access to ICT resources, technical support, and digital skills training. This integrated approach is set to be the starting point for Telenet’s broader engagement in digital inclusion projects.

Find out more information on the pilot project here.