StarHub has put its 20-year birthday celebrations on hold to concentrate on providing connectivity for some of Singapore's most needy families.
The company has reinvested its $200,000 budget into an initiative that will provide instant mobile broadband connectivity to students from lower-income families who don't have broadband at home.
The initiative is part of an announcement by the Ministry of Education. The announcement states that all primary, secondary, pre-university and institute of higher learning students will need to transition to home-based learning from 8 April to 4 May. It is designed to support students who have been forced to stay at home as the government tackles COVID-19.
“At a time when individuals, businesses and the economy are facing unparalleled hardship, the right thing to do is to further support our community and donate our marketing funds set aside for our anniversary celebrations towards a very worthwhile cause,” says StarHub chief executive Pater Kaliaropoulos.
StarHub will provide broadband to 158 primary and secondary students this week, with the aim of increasing connectivity to 550 students over the course of the initiative.
The Ministry of Education will identify eligible students who will then receive 4G dongles or MiFi routers with unlimited data powered by StarHub.
The additional connectivity support, paired with school devices, will enable these students to access online learning for home-based learning.
The mobile broadband devices will be distributed from Monday, 6 April onwards. This initiative will last for six months, to tide over the trying circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“StarHub is a firm believer that education is one of the greatest gifts that can be provided to the next generation, as it empowers them to rise above their circumstances and levels the playing field for them to excel in life. We are heartened that StarHub can utilise its expertise and services to help more students bridge the digital divide, as HBL begins across all schools nationwide,” says Kaliaropoulos.
StarHub has also set up a new fund designed to support vulnerable people in the community, such as healthcare staff, patients, lower-income seniors in rental flats and lower-income households.
The fund, called StarHub Cares COVID-19 Fund, which currently stands at $750,000, comprises contributions from across the company.
StarHub's board of directors contribute up to 10% of 2019 director fees, the StarHub Senior leadership team contributes up to one month of salary, and employees can make voluntary contributions. StarHub is matching all contributions dollar-for-dollar.