UK mobile networks have agreed to join a new government scheme that will help disadvantaged schoolchildren to access the internet at home if they do not have a fixed broadband connection.

School closures due to the pandemic have forced some children to rely on slower internet services, with Ofcom research suggesting that around 880,000 currently only have access to mobile data at home.

With broadband coverage or price being a problem for some families, mobile providers have signed up to deliver more extensive data plans to help those in need.

Seven networks have already agreed to offer free data as part of the new temporary access scheme: EE, Three, O2, Virgin Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile and Smarty.

This should help schoolchildren to gain access to the data they need across a variety of devices during the current national lockdown.

It will also improve the quality of video calls and other forms of face-to-face interactions that are now crucial to daily education on digital platforms.

To take advantage of the scheme, parents, carers and pupils are advised to get in touch with their school or local authority.

They will then need to provide a few details about their current mobile plan with one of the eligible network providers, including the account holder name and number.

Once the additional data has been added, customers will get a text message confirming the details.

As part of the scheme, more 4G wireless routers are also being made available to support greater mobile data consumption.