The UK already has a world-leading digital economy, with low prices and high take-up of the internet thanks to the high levels of competition we enjoy today. But in order to really reap the benefits, government, businesses and the third sector need to help, encourage and support those individuals and businesses who are not yet using the internet. It is shocking that there are 8 million adults who’ve never used the internet, 16 million who don’t have basic digital skills and only a third of SMEs are trading online. We passionately believe that the internet makes Britain a better place and that no one should be excluded from all the benefits that it has to offer. This is why we are so proud to be a founding partner of Go ON UK and to publically commit to playing our part in building a truly connected nation and powering growth across the UK.
Dido Harding, CEO
While the majority of our staff have Basic Online Skills, we want to make sure that all the 4,000 people who work for TalkTalk in the UK, whether that’s directly or via one of our strategic outsource partners – and regardless of the job they do – has the skills to enjoy everything that the internet has to offer. We will find out who needs extra help with Basic Online Skills and develop a targeted training offer to help them.
Beyond this, we want to make sure our staff are equipped to make innovative use of technology to deliver the best experience for our customers. We are launching a brand new interactive, highly personalised learning and development platform that includes a dedicated ‘core IT skills’ channel, plus specialist development programmes around more advanced areas such as engineering and coding.
Finally, as part of our commitment to making the internet a safer and more enjoyable place for all, we will extend our internet safety training beyond customer service staff so all our employees are confident keeping themselves safe online.
We believe that the internet makes our communities a better place. Our staff are perfectly placed to spread their passion and knowledge as Digital Champions and, starting in the New Year, we will be working with UK Online centres to train our staff and match them with local centres in our community where they can help encourage and support others who need help to get online. This will form part of our company-wide Give Something Back volunteering programme.
As the value-for-money broadband provider, we also believe that everyone has the right to access affordable broadband and already work with partners, including Microsoft, to remove cost as a barrier to getting online at home. We will continue to develop low-cost device and broadband bundles, remove upfront costs and tailor and promote offers in high-need regions. By the end of 2015, we commit to getting 500,000 more SMEs, charities and homes online.
We know that many of our SME customers remain unconvinced of the benefits of the internet for their business so we will run an awareness campaign. We will also offer tailored incentives for charities and housing associations to make it easier and more affordable for them to digitally develop their organisations and services.
We know that our customers are happier when they can use the internet to manage their account and buy products and services. That’s why we have made the conscious strategic decision to be an online-first company, where we design everything for digital by default. In fact, 70% of our customer contacts now place online and we’re continuing to increase that. We’ve made significant progress over the past couple of years, but are committed to ensuring that all of our key services are online and usable by all of our 4.1 million customers by the end of 2014. And because, increasingly, our customers are using mobile devices to go online, we will be implementing full mobile browser functionality.
The other amazing benefit of the internet is that by developing online-only products we can deliver great innovation and also the best value possible. HomeSafe, our free and unique network level security service, is a great example of this. We are committed to continuing to develop great online-only products and services to reward our customers for using the internet, and are targeting 1 million customers using HomeSafe by March 2013 as part of our commitment to making the internet a safer place.