What is Data Poverty?

Data is fast becoming a utility like gas or electricity.

It enables access to online learning and essential government services. It enables the unemployed to find work, the housebound to manage their finances, the lonely to communicate with family and friends.

Yet for too many data is too expensive to meet these essential needs.

According to OFCOM, the UK’s telecoms regulator:

  • 5% of households reduce spending on clothes / food to pay their telecoms bill.
  • 1 million households had an affordability issue with their broadband.
  • 888 000 children live in households with only mobile internet.

For some the trade off is data or dinner.

In a piece of research, data poverty was defined by innovation charity Nesta in Scotland and Y-Lab in Wales, as: ‘individuals, households or communities who cannot afford sufficient, private and secure mobile or broadband data to meet their essential needs.’

End Data Poverty seeks to ensure all can afford data for essential needs. It will work towards this aim by…

  • Raising awareness of data poverty (including the cause, effect, and possible solutions) and influence policy-makers so as to drive positive change.
  • Raising money for continued research to better quantify data poverty and identify indicators to measure progress.
  • Bringing together people from different organisations to collaborate and share solutions. This would include broadband providers, government and regulatory bodies, voluntary and community groups, academic and research groups.
  • Creating an online hub for reports, studies and news on data poverty.

How to get involved?

Help us ensure more people understand data poverty.

  • Follow @DataPoverty on Twitter and use the hashtag #DataPoverty or #EndDataPoverty. You can also send out the following tweet:

No one should be prevented from accessing essential services online because of the cost of data. #EndDataPoverty #DataPoverty #DigitalDivide

  • Sign-up to receive updates below (click here to see our privacy policy).


New research lifts the lid on community responses to data poverty

July 2021 Community groups stepped up to help people experiencing data poverty during the pandemic but are unlikely to be able to continue to plug the gap without support, a new report has found. Published by Local Trust, Making connections: Community-led action on data poverty draws on first-hand accounts of how community groups made sure people in their …

“…when my mobile data runs out I can’t see my grandkids.”

A survey commissioned by the the Citizens Advice Bureau has revealed that more than one in six people in the UK are struggling to afford their broadband during the third lockdown.1 This comes at a time when people are more reliant on broadband to work, teach their children and order essentials. Citizens Advice found that …

Just 5% of pupils in state schools have adequate internet access, say teachers.

A report by The Sutton Trust published on the 11th January has revealed just 5% of pupils in state schools have adequate internet access, according to teachers. Compiled using data from Teacher Tapp in early January, the report, Remote Learning: The Digital Divide, revealed just 10% of students have adequate access to a device for …


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