The government has announced plans to tackle social isolation in the elderly by converting them into WiFi hotspots.

The Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport aims to have over 90% of the nation’s pensioners turned into mobile internet hubs by 2020. A government spokesman told reporters that the multimillion pound project would expand the UK’s existing publicly-available WiFi network, whilst at the same time addressing the issue of older people becoming unnecessarily lonely.

“Apart from keeping the Tories in power, what use are the elderly, really?” said project manager, Nigel Gormley.

“They clog up buses, form unnecessary queues in Post Offices and treat GP surgeries like they were social clubs.

“Sure, their casual racism can be endearing at times, and you can always rely on them to dig out a bag of boiled sweets in a crisis, but in the most part they just get in the way and leave that weird ‘old person smell’ everywhere.

“By fitting them with this technology, they can continue to do all of those things whilst providing a valuable service to those members of the public who aren’t yet old enough to start receiving advertising flyers from funeral parlours.”

The scheme has received a lukewarm reaction from age concern charities, though the most negative reaction has come from coffee shop owners, who claim that initiative has the potential to destroy their businesses.

“People only pay for our shitty over-priced coffee so they can spend the next eight hours leeching off the ‘free’ WiFi,” said Starbuck’s manager, Jeremy Henderson.

“If they can get it for free by chatting to pensioners then we’ll only be left with groups of middle-class mummies and the creepy old guy who likes to sit at the window when school kids are walking past.”

In order to gain access to the new network, users will have to converse with the old person in a meaningful way for at least 60 seconds before being provided with the WiFi password. Users will be given full access to the internet for 30 minutes at a time, though restrictions will be placed on sites deemed to contain ‘adult-content’.

“We had to put those into place after a complaint was made by an elderly constituent of Damian Green, ” explained Nigel Gormley.

On a more serious note, if you do know of an older person who may be at risk of becoming isolated, go and say hello. They’re probably a lot more interesting than you are.