Closing the digital divide and connecting communities

Huawei Vice President Victor Zhang today outlined how they are working with communities and business to bring connectivity to those who don’t have it.

Huawei Vice President Victor Zhang

In this Yorkshire Post special report he writes about the company’s pledge to help make ‘levelling up’ a reality.

“…Closing the digital divide now needs to become a much higher priority. The time is coming where we need to see digital connectivity as a basic human right…

“…Earlier this year, Huawei supported the Greater Manchester Technology Fund and I’m pleased this regional support has continued, through the help of fantastic charitable organisations such as PC Refurb.”

Those were the words of Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester, on July 30, writes Huawei Vice President Victor Zhang.

Andy Burnham is absolutely right – connectivity is a basic human right.

But despite the growing importance of digital connections to our everyday lives, there are still nine million adults in the UK who struggle to or simply can’t use the internet.

This digital divide is widening and it is locking people out of new ways of working, socialising and thousands of other advantages. This disparity was never clearer than during the pandemic when most of our lives shifted online and we were all at the mercy of a broadband connection.

As we begin the transition into a ‘new normal’ - where hybrid working becomes standard practice for large parts of the economy and many opportunities are only available online – we can’t afford to leave so many people behind.

Education, information and opportunity should be available to all, regardless of location. Failure to provide this threatens to further isolate the vulnerable and exacerbate existing inequalities.

That is why we have been identifying some gaps which need closing. Earlier this year, we donated 250 pupil packs to five schools across Greater Manchester, 120 laptops to Manchester based city projects and community schemes and 200 laptops to schools across the North East. Our mission has always been to connect communities, and these are a few ways we are helping to do that.

The UK Government has set a national aim of ‘levelling up’. We want to help make this a reality, working with communities and business to bring connectivity to those who don’t have it.