BT and BBC partner to remove mobile data charges for BBC Bitesize educational content
EE, BT Mobile, and Plusnet Mobile customers to have unlimited access for free to BBC Bitesize content by the end of January
Zero rating of popular educational websites forms part of BT’s ‘Lockdown Learning’ support scheme announced last week
Agreement forms part of broader partnership between the two national champions
BT and the BBC have announced plans to zero rate the hugely popular and award-winning BBC Bitesize for all EE, BT Mobile, and Plusnet Mobile customers, while schools remain closed.
The first of its kind agreement means that from the end of the month customers of EE, BT Mobile and Plusnet Mobile accessing BBC Bitesize for kids’ educational purposes, can watch, read and interact with as much immersive content as they need, even if they have run out of data.
Marc Allera, CEO BT Group’s Consumer division said: “We want to ensure that no child is left behind in their education as a result of this pandemic, and recognise that we all have a role we can play to help families and carers continue their children’s education while schools are closed.
That’s why, as part of our ‘Lockdown Learning’ support scheme launched last week, we’re proud to partner with the BBC and be the first network to zero rate BBC Bitesize and allow all of our mobile customers to access its incredible content without using up any data.”
Tim Davie, BBC Director General, said: “With the pandemic forcing schools to close again we should not allow a lack of digital access to further impact children’s education. This is why I’m delighted we have agreed this partnership with BT to remove data charges when accessing the BBC’s brilliant Bitesize content. The BBC will continue to do all we can to ensure every child, whatever their circumstances, can continue to access vital educational materials during this time.”
To make the process as easy as possible for families, no registration will be required with zero rated access to educational Bitesize content through the BBC website and Bitesize app made automatically.
The Bitesize online offer has become essential to delivering support for parents, teachers and students during the crisis.
For primary, BBC Bitesize online has an expanded offer of structured lessons in Maths and English for all year groups - these can be used at home or in the classroom.
‘This Term’s Topics’ also covers other curriculum subjects and curates learning content that works for the Spring curriculum. This content can be used at home or incorporated into a learning plan. Visit bbc.co.uk/bitesize, click on the year group and subject and all the content is there.
For secondary pupils, Bitesize is also home to two-week learning packs for English and Maths in KS3 (years 7, 8 and 9) as well as ‘This Term’s Topics’ for other subjects to be used at home or to support teachers in the remote classrooms. For students in Years 10 and 11, the Bitesize secondary offer allows students to pick their exam board and subject to find everything they need to help with their studies. Visit bbc.co.uk/bitesize/secondary for details.
BT is doing all it can to help support the nation during lockdown. Last week it unveiled its ‘Lockdown Learning’ support scheme, working with the Department for Education to ensure school children can continue to learn online while face to face learning is paused. BT will be giving those children who need it most unlimited mobile data as well as handing out thousands of free WiFi vouchers to schools and charity partners to distribute to families without an internet connection. The vouchers give access to the internet via BT’s five million WiFi Hotspots across the UK.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Supporting children and young people to continue their education is vital during this challenging time. It is fantastic that BT and the BBC have joined forces to remove mobile data charges for BBC bitesize for hundreds of thousands of families across the country.
“Having worked closely with the UK’s leading mobile network providers since the start of the pandemic, I would like to thank BT for this additional support which builds on the Government’s offer of free mobile data for disadvantaged families.”
BT’s partnership with the BBC is the first zero rating of educational content, with announcements on further popular learning portals to be made soon.
Zero Rating of BBC Bitesize:
Available to all contract and pay as you go customers of EE, BT Mobile and Plusnet in the UK, and commencing end of January (to allow thorough testing of the product), BT will remove all data charges for access to BBC Bitesize content (NB only content accessed via the BBC Bitesize website, Bitesize App, or Bitesize content on iPlayer included), while all schools are closed across the nation. There is no registration required.
The scheme will end as schools reopen across the UK.
Notes to Editors
BT’s ‘Lockdown Learning’ support scheme includes:
Zero Rating of BBC Bitesize: As above. BT has also invited the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish administrations to each suggest one online resource for school children which we will also seek to zero rate, to support their curriculums which differ from English schools.
Unlimited Data: Starting at the end of January and available until the end of this academic year (July 2021), the free unlimited data for EE and BT Mobile customers is accessed through children’s schools and allows eligible families to access whichever educational resources are needed whilst face to face teaching is paused. The DfE’s programme is only currently available for families in England.
Free WiFi Vouchers: BT was the first telecoms operator to have an offer for families who needed help with home learning, offering BT WiFi vouchers for free access available since June. BT will shortly be offering these directly to schools in England, Wales and Scotland, as well as its charity partners, and increasing the vouchers available. Our estimates suggest around 20 - 30% of homes across the UK are in range of a BT WiFi hotspot, coverage varies. BT distributed some vouchers direct in the summer and had an active user rate of around 10% of vouchers distributed.
BT also offers a social tariff for low income families - BT Basic, a £10 per month fixed broadband and phone line service. With priority connection, this long term solution offers low income families a sustainable option that meets their data needs. More information here: https://www.bt.com/help/landline/getting-set-up/help-people-with-impairments-or-with-particular-needs/how-do-i-find-out-more-about-bt-basic-
Following the successful launch of free home learning resources last year, BT and Computing at School (CAS) have continued to update its Barefoot computing resources to accommodate the shift to home schooling and adapted dozens of activities to support families with their children’s digital skills. https://www.barefootcomputing.org/homelearning
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