North Lincolnshire Homes has been running a six-month pilot project to deliver an innovative broadband service to some of its tenants in Scunthorpe as part of its plan as an official Race Online 2012 partner to improve digital inclusion among its tenants.
NLH is using the latest LTE (long-term evolution) technology to deliver a wireless broadband service without the need for tenants to pay for a landline telephone. Subject to funding, the eventual aim is to extend the service in a radius of around 15 miles from base stations in Scunthorpe.
Mike Eckersley, head of IT, North Lincolnshire Homes, said, “With only 36 per cent of our tenants online, a large proportion of the community is digitally excluded. When changes to welfare benefits are introduced next year, people can only apply for Universal Credit online and so those people who need the most help could become even more digitally excluded.
“Cost is a barrier for people, but more so is the poor provision of broadband in North Lincolnshire. We have a solution that will transmit a new wireless service across Scunthorpe which doesn’t rely on telephone lines.”
The pilot has been a huge success, with 86 per cent of volunteers rating the service good or excellent. One NLH tenant who took part in the trial said, “Having the internet at home has enabled me to search and apply for jobs on a regular basis, and I’ve saved money by shopping online for the cheapest deals. The trial was brilliant – the service has been excellent and the connection very fast.”