JOBSEEKERS can now get free broadband for six months thanks to a new initiative from TalkTalk and the UK government.
The new vouchers will be available to people who are looking for work and who have a work coach through JobCentre.
The programme, which has been launched in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), aims to tackle digital exclusion and remove barriers to employment across the UK.
If you qualify for the help, you'll be offered a no-contract voucher for six months of TalkTalk’s Fibre35 broadband, which gives average speeds of 38Mb/s
The usage is uncapped, meaning there are no data limits and there's no credit check or contract required.
At the end of the six-month period, you can choose to roll onto a contract with TalkTalk, or cancel the service.
If you decide to cancel, you won't be charged for any additional costs or sign-up fees.
While DWP jobcentres remained open to support the most vulnerable in society throughout the pandemic, much of the training and job support was moved online.
This means that an internet connection is even more important for people who are looking to find work.
TalkTalk and the DWP trialled the voucher in Greater Manchester and Cheshire at the start of the second UK lockdown last year, to support jobseekers who were stuck at home.
Following the successful trial, which saw people secure new employment and training opportunities, TalkTalk is now rolling out the scheme nationally so that all Jobcentre Plus work coaches can offer the vouchers.
TalkTalk provides referral codes to the DWP, which the DWP distributes to eligible customers so they can pre-pay.
The customers then call TalkTalk directly using a dedicated number to redeem the codes. The DWP is responsible for identifying and referring participants based on their need.
Daniel Kasmir, chief people & procurement Officer at TalkTalk said: "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.”
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.
The Fibre35 product has maximum speeds of up to 40mbs. Users will benefit from wi-fi connection across the whole household via a router and security and online safety packages are included as part of the service.
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