‘Digital inclusion’ pilot projects are being run in St Helens and North Liverpool to provide residents with free wireless broadband in their homes.
The Advanced Internet Methods and Emergent Systems (AIMES) Centre, part of the University of Liverpool, has developed the Community Grid in conjunction with Proxim Wireless and OciusB2, as part of a digital inclusion project. Over 100 homes in St. Helens and North Liverpool have been given a wireless connection from their homes to a local aggregation point, from where data is carried to a shared central computer, which is managed by AIMES. Firewalls, virus scanners and appropriate filtering are looked after by AIMES, so the end-user only has to switch on and log in. Via this connection, children will also have access to some of the software they use at school, to continue projects at home and extend their computer skills.
Professor Dennis Kehoe, director, AIMES, said, “Digital inclusion is a crucial enabler of economic regeneration and growth. The aim of the Community Grid is to bridge the digital divide, to ensure that everyone can have affordable access to the benefits of computing. Wireless is a key part of this strategy as it is the most cost-effective way to provide high-speed broadband access to the community.”
George Porter, director, OciusB2, said, “The digital inclusion project is being deployed in phases and should eventually cover users across the entire Liverpool City region.”