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BT teams up with Barclays to offer free Wi-Fi and digital support to deprived areas

BT has announced plans to provide free public Wi-Fi to some of the most deprived areas of the country.

BT has partnered up with Barclays to launch the scheme, which will see free Wi-Fi hotspots and support, provided by Barclays’ “Digital Eagles”, offered to 57 libraries, 13 community centres and other sites, including homeless shelters and care homes.

According to recent statistics, almost a fifth of the adult population of the UK has never ventured online. BT’s scheme will hopefully bring that number down by helping users, who were formerly without access to the ‘net, get online, as well as providing them with the necessary skills to fully enjoy their time on the world wide web.

Anna Easton, head of BT’s connected society programme, said: “At BT we believe in the power of communication to make a better world. We want to ensure that everyone can not only access the digital world, but also have the skills and support they need to stay online in the long term.”

Strategic Transformation Director for Barclays, Stephen Roberts, added: “At Barclays we firmly believe that we have a responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind on the digital journey and through this significant partnership with BT, we can ensure that even more people have access to the services and support they need to embrace the digital revolution.”

The scheme comes as part of the government’s continued digital inclusion strategy, which aims to reduce the number of folk without access to the wonders of the internet by 25 per cent by 2016.

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