Free sim cards and mobile data from North Somerset libraries

2:01pm - 11 July 2022
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Residents facing digital exclusion through not being able to afford sim cards and mobile data can now access them for free thanks to a new scheme available through North Somerset Council's library service.

The UK National Databank provides free sims and mobile data (as well as talk minutes and texts) to people in need through the Good Things Foundation’s network of local community partners, including North Somerset libraries. It’s like a food bank but for internet connectivity data.

The scheme will offer vital connections for anyone cut off from the basic daily activities most people take for granted like contacting loved ones, accessing job interviews, finding essential health or other information online, and digitised public services. 

Councillor Mike Solomon, executive member for neighbourhoods and community services, said: "We’re  committed to making North Somerset fairer for all our residents, and access to digital services is an essential part of life today. This is an excellent initiative and I hope anyone experiencing data poverty will make use of this offer to allow them to get online.

"Our libraries play an important role in supporting people, helping to make sure everyone has free access to a world of digital and print resources."

Anyone over 18 from a low-income household who qualifies in at least one of the following ways can obtain data vouchers from their local library: 

  • Has no access or insufficient access to the internet at home, and/or
  • has no or insufficient access to the internet when away from home, and/or
  • can’t afford their existing monthly contract or top-up.

Residents who need a data voucher should contact their local library to make an appointment to collect it. For details of North Somerset libraries visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/libraries, email libraries@n-somerset.gov.uk or telephone 01934 426 834.

Helen Milner OBE, Group Chief Executive, Good Things Foundation, added: “Having sufficient data in our increasingly digital society is not a nice to have, it’s an absolute essential. If you’re not online you can’t save money on products and services, help your children to participate in home-learning, and apply for jobs.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Virgin Media O2 to launch the National Databank, which can be thought of as a ‘food bank for data’. Now is the time for us to come together to address the issue of data poverty in the UK once and for all.”