€2 million pilot project launched to address digital divide

With an investment of around €2 million, the pilot scheme ‘Digital Connect’ will reach around 2,300 families in order to address the digital divide

Economy minister Silvio Schembri
Economy minister Silvio Schembri

A pilot project aimed at addressing digital divide - Digital Connect - was launched by Social Justice and Solidarity Minister Michael Falzon and Economy and Indistry Minister Silvio Schembri.

“This pilot scheme, with an investment of around €2 million, will reach around 2,300 families and through it – and for this there is a means test – these selected families will be entitled to a laptop as well as a €300 internet voucher for a whole year. For this scheme we have identified low-income families who have consequently fallen behind in terms of technology and therefore this pilot project is aimed at boosting inclusion and digital skills," Schembri said. 

Falzon said this scheme was furher evidence of how the government invests in people.

"Next year, we will be seeing dozens of new social measures as well as others that will continue to be delivered. We want to make sure that no one falls behind, and that everyone enjoys equal opportunities," he said. "This is a government with its heart in the right place and one that strongly believes in social justice. A government that ensures that every family has access to basic needs in order to live a decent life”, said Minister Michael Falzon."

This pilot project scheme is available for people who are currently benefiting from some social security services, namely those who are in possession of a pink card, receive a non-contributory pension, receive social assistance, are single parents, and those who are receiving assistance if unemployed. 

Social justice and solidarity minister Michael Falzon
Social justice and solidarity minister Michael Falzon

A pilot project will be launched in Pembroke, Ħal Luqa, Swieqi, Żebbuġ (Malta), Gżira, Mtarfa, Naxxar, Siġġiewi, Birgu, Rabat (Malta), Għajnsielem, Ħal Qormi, Kerċem, Ħad-Dingli and Sannat. The identified families will be receiving a letter that will kickstart the application process. Each household may submit only one application while each applicant will be eligible to apply only once. The scheme is not based on a first-come-first-served basis and every application will be carefully vetted. 

In addition, applicants have the duty to ensure that the laptop cannot be transferred or used by third parties. In fact, an audit will be done on the laptops that are to be given. Disciplinary action may be taken if the laptop is not used for personal use, i.e. if it is transferred.

All laptop guarantees will be open the moment a laptop is picked up by the authorised seller after the applicant successfully submits the letter of acceptance and presents their ID Card. In case of loss, the Malta Digital Innovation Authority must be informed. 

In the case of a €300 free internet voucher, these will be distributed by registered letter by mail. 

To apply one may do so in person at the Malta Digital Innovation Authority in Mrieħel. Applicants must take with them their identity card and letter of eligibility. One may also visit the Digital Connect stand which will be in the mentioned localities as they will be guided by the leaflet they will receive together with the letter of eligibility by post. The scheme is open between Monday 29th November and Tuesday 21st December.

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