Hull company helps charity provide internet access to pupils during pandemic

16th Feb

A campaign to provide vital equipment to children who are unable to access online lessons has been given a major boost.

Hull company ThingSIM is donating Wi-Fi dongles with their own specialised SIM cards to the Stop the Digital Divide appeal run by Hull & East Yorkshire Children’s University which aims to provide laptops and internet access for primary school children. The equipment will be distributed by schools that have identified pupils in need.

ThingSIM will be providing 85 dongles initially and will cover the costs for all of the data used by the recipients.

The special SIM cards are protected by ThingSIM’s advanced security platform and will restrict children’s internet access to educational resources to assure online safety and allow the schools to meet their safeguarding obligations. The company, which is based at Hull’s C4DI, has just been launched by entrepreneur Chris Byrd, and provides connectivity and management solutions for businesses using Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

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Hull & East Yorkshire Children’s University has been raising money via a GoFundMe page with a target figure of £20,000. At the time of writing, nearly £13,000 had been generated and the equipment was starting to be delivered to local schools. It is also asking the public to donate old laptops and tablets which will be ‘wiped’ of all data.

Natasha Barley, Children’s University director, said that there were many families without Internet access meaning that disadvantaged children were getting left further behind due to Covid-19.

“The donation of the Wi-Fi dongles is exceptionally generous for a fledgling business and it provides us with a very straightforward solution for the schools which have requested equipment. We want to say a massive thank you to ThingSIM.”

Chris Byrd said: “As someone who has made technology my career, I find it unthinkable that so many young people have no internet access resulting in isolation and lack of opportunity.

“These children are our future and we want to do our bit to enable them to participate in online school lessons, research and homework. Education is a basic right which should not be denied to them due to this pandemic.

“ThingSIM has a unique set of security capabilities which are normally used for large commercial IoT deployments, and we are very pleased to have been able to adapt the platform to ensure children using our connectivity service can be kept safe while online.”

Chris Byrd started ThingSIM to help SMEs take advantage of the huge potential of smart device technology. The company is able to provide global, secure connectivity and can offer solutions that bypass the public Internet.

Natasha added: “It’s our job as a community and as a society to do our bit to ensure these children are not marginalised, and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has donated, and to ThingSIM for providing this perfect solution to providing essential connectivity.”

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