Social Telecoms CIC has announced that it is working with Golden Gates Housing Trust to give tenants on one of its estates in Warrington free internet access and computers in their homes via a tiny device that effectively turns tenants’ televisions into large tablet computers.
The project is being part funded through the government’s Digital Deal and gives Golden Gates’ tenants who don’t have their own computer, laptop or smartphone one of Social Telecoms’ free Rascal mini-PCs; Rascals are tiny computers that plug into a television and are operated wirelessly using a keyboard and mouse.
John Clarke, director, Social Telecoms CIC, said, “The Rascal effectively turns a television into a giant Android tablet. It’s amazing how much technology can be packed into something not much bigger than a memory stick. It plugs straight into a USB socket so it doesn’t need any cabling or even a separate power supply, but it can run office applications and even support gaming. What’s more, it’s very easy to use and it proves you don’t need expensive equipment to access the internet.”
The government’s funding will be ‘match funded’ by Golden Gates and will see Social Telecoms install and manage a wi-fi network in Longford, providing free wireless broadband to its tenants and low cost access to other local residents without the need for expensive broadband connections and monthly line rental fees.
Peter Fitzhenry, director of housing management, Golden Gates Housing Trust, said, “We believe this is an exciting opportunity that will benefit a significant number of digitally-excluded tenants living in one of the most disadvantaged areas of the UK, and will enable hundreds of tenants to experience the wonders of the internet in their own home without having to buy a computer.”
The contract is worth around £40,000 and includes the planning, supply, setup and configuration, 100 Android-based Rascal devices, and 12 months’ maintenance and support of the wi-fi network and a dedicated fibre leased line. The project will run for 12 months as a pilot with an interim evaluation in May 2014.