Optus customers can now gift their excess data to young Australians living in poverty as part of a new initiative launched this week. 

The Donate Your Data program aims to address the digital divide between Australians who don’t have the resources to fully participate in work, study or access everyday online services.

40,000GB of data have already been donated by Optus customers since the program launched at the beginning of the week, benefitting more than 13,000 young Australians.

Launched with its charity partners The Smith Family and the KARI Foundation, Optus will be providing free Optus SIM cards to young Australians in need, along with unlimited national standard talk and text and 10GB data for use in Australia. 

Those data balances will then be topped up by donations from eligible Optus postpaid and prepaid mobile customers via the Optus app. 

Optus Deputy CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said “Optus is proud to be working with our customers to enable young people across Australia to reach their full potential by providing them with access to the internet.” 

“For many of us, data is something we take for granted. However, for some young Australians accessing the internet and staying connected with the world around them is a real challenge. This entails everything from studying through to searching for jobs, watching videos or even doing a quick internet search.” 

The Smith Family’s CEO Dr Lisa O’Brien said 30 per cent of young people on The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program do not have access to reliable internet at home. 

“This can create huge obstacles in their learning journey. In today’s world getting homework or school projects done is much more difficult without the internet. Optus’ Donate Your Data initiative will help address this fundamental educational challenge by improving internet access for young people and their families living in circumstances of financial disadvantage.” 

KARI Chief Executive, Casey Ralph said “Staying connected is important for mental wellbeing, education outcomes and an ability to inspire our future leaders. The Optus Donate your Data initiative will build on our current partnership with Optus to ensure that KARI can support our young Indigenous people’s ability to achieve, thrive and belong in an ever-changing world.”

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