BT Launches Shared Internet Service For Housing Associations

BT is to give housing associations the chance to offer Internet connections to tenants through a new shared service that promises to make it easier and cheaper to get more people online.

The cost of installation and service can be shared by residents, who can also be provided with affordable devices, and housing associations can determine whether to charge each individual tenant for access or to provide Wi-Fi services in a communal area.

The cost of such a service could be included in existing monthly rent payments and tenants will not have to worry about undergoing credit checks in order to receive the Internet. BT will also provide training and technical support for residents, so they can make the most of the web.

BT shared housing Internet

“There are currently 6.4 million adults in the UK that have never used the internet, with 4.1 million of those in social housing,” says Graham Sutherland, CEO at BT Business. “This not only affects their employment prospects and access to education, but also how they gain access to essential services.

“As a result, it’s crucial that they have access to go online – and that’s why we’re working with housing associations to help ensure those on low incomes or who are unemployed, elderly or disabled have access to the internet.”

The service is part of BT’s Connected Society programme and the company has received an award for a project with the Wheatley Group and the Scottish Government which provided affordable Wi-Fi to a hundred households in a multi-storey property in Glasgow.

Affordable devices, including Archos 97 tablets and Samsung Google Chromebooks, were provided to tenants with many saying they were actively seeking employment using the Wi-Fi and a third claiming they had saved money thanks to the deployment.

The government has moved a number of services to its gov.uk portal and part of the reasoning behind publicly-funded projects like Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is to get as many people online and ensure they can take advantage of the social and economic benefits of broadband. Other initiatives like Go On UK have similar ambitions of teaching online skills to people in the UK who do not possess them.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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