Salford Council is extending its digital skills campaign – which aims to address issues of social inclusion through getting more residents online – with the roll-out of a gigabit fibre-to-the-premises broadband service across its council estates.
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The first buildings covered by the scheme are already being hooked up by urban FTTP pioneer Hyperoptic, with a service available to buy from summer 2016.
“The world is being transformed by a series of profound technological changes. Digital technology is changing our lives, our economy, our work and society. Through our regeneration work in Pendleton we have set in place the technological infrastructure that gives people living there an impressive digital capability and offer,” said Paul Dennett, assistant mayor for innovation, growth and prosperity at Salford Council.
“Council owned homes aren't often seen as being ahead of the technological curve but, in Salford, we realise technological developments are critical to creating vibrant communities, whilst ensuring the sustainability of regeneration.”
The service will be made available in three packages – a high-end 1Gbps service, a significantly slower but still ultrafast 100Mbps service, and a basic 20Mbps service, which does not meet government definitions of superfast. Additionally, Hyperoptic will make a 100Mbps service available free of charge in communal areas.
Properties at Beech Court, Holm & Plane Court, Hornbeam, Malus Court, Salix Court, Spruce Court, Thorn Court and Whitebeam will be the first to get access to the network.
Digital volunteer programme
It will be the first large-scale social housing FTTP offering in the UK, although Wandsworth Council has been consulting on the possibility of making a similar service available to its tenants following successful trials of a Community Fibre network in Battersea, south London.
Dana Tobak, MD, Hyperoptic, adds: “We offer a compelling and innovative alternative for council’s that want to future-proof their buildings with broadband infrastructure that will stand the test of time,” said Hyperoptic managing director Dana Tobak.
“Gigabit connectivity enables limitless opportunities – it supports and exceeds the government’s digital by default initiative. The UK is fast becoming a gigabit nation - we have pioneered this shift and we are delighted that Salford Council has taken the leap to become the first council to offer its residents world-class connectivity.”
There is a programme encouraging digitally-savvy residents to volunteer to train their neighbours to get the most out of the internet.
Each volunteer will be supplied with training, a free broadband service and an iPad to use in their work, which they will be able to keep if they train over 20 people a year.