EE is helping to tackle digital exclusion in the North-East as part of the industry-supported UK-wide Go ON initiative established by Baroness Martha Lane-Fox.
EE initiatives support the kick off of Go ON North-East, a programme that aims to "super charge" digital skills activity across the region.
Research has revealed that 500,000 adults in the North-East lack basic online skills. Go ON UK and its founder partners, including EE, are aiming to reduce this figure by 25 percent in the next 12 months.
EE CEO Olaf Swantee said: “Digital exclusion is a serious issue. Research shows that being online has significant benefits for people, from improving educational outcomes of young people to countering social isolation and depression among the elderly.
"By improving the UK’s digital infrastructure and sharing the magic of technology we can help people get more from the digital world.”
EE will be donating 100 4G mobile WiFi hot-spots, loaded with data, to community organisations across the region to enable them to deliver digital inclusion projects in areas of need.
EE will also run a series of Techy Tea Parties across the North-East. At a Techy Tea Party guests from Age UK will spend around two hours one-to-one with an EE volunteer, who will help them with their tech challenges over some tea and biscuits.
This might be teaching them how to text, showing them how an iPad works or helping them set up an email account. From this week EE will be running Techy Tea Parties in Middlesbrough, Darlington, Newcastle and Sunderland.
In addition, EE says it will also run Digital Champions sessions hosted by employees who are specially trained to go out into the community and inspire people to give the internet a go.
Research shows that a lack of interest in the internet and a feeling of "it’s not for me" is one of the biggest obstacles to getting online, said EE, and its programme is designed to tackle this.
Go ON UK is a cross-sector charity which was established in 2012 to encourage and support people, businesses and charities to enjoy the benefits of being online.
Go ON UK has nine chief executives around its boardroom table, including Age UK, Argos, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, E.ON, EE, Lloyds Banking Group, Post Office and TalkTalk.
Go ON North-East is the first regional pathfinder being rolled out by Go ON UK and partners to help increase basic online skills. The pathfinder will provide a replicable model for other UK regions to use to improve their digital skills.