From: Andrew Henderson, Managing director, Lanway
Sir – When it comes to internet provision for tenants, housing providers need to think carefully about resident tendencies.
Many tenants are transient and this is likely to intensify following the conclusion of the ‘homes for life’ initiative. Tying tenants down to fixed, minimum-term broadband and phone line contracts is inefficient and makes little sense economically.
Pay-as-you-go schemes are one option. The complexity, however, to deliver such a service is still a challenge that cannot be addressed through a ‘one solution fits all’ approach.
However, although it is more expensive in the short term to setup, pay-as-you-go, if done correctly, could eliminate the need for a long-term commitment, and would be cheaper for tenants than traditional broadband and landline contracts. Furthermore, housing providers could provide free access to key resources, such as government websites and services, the sites used to pay rent or the local credit unions. Then, any leisure use could be charged at a subsidised rate in a similar way – albeit cheaper – in which services like BT Openzone operate.
Internet access needs to be both flexible and cost-effective, so housing associations should ensure that long-term contracts tick these two boxes but in many cases, they won’t fit the bill.