Orbit Living and CommunityUK.net are extending their free wi-fi service to more of the housing provider’s sheltered housing schemes, marking the transition from a two-year pilot project to a sustainable and core infrastructure service.
From February 2014 to March 2016, Orbit partnered with CommunityUK.net to deliver open wi-fi services in shared areas of over 25 sheltered and supported schemes. The pilot project was set up in order to explore whether cost-effective internet access could be delivered for Orbit’s tenants and the wider community, how much it would cost to provide a service that included internet access, shared PC support and tenant engagement, and to establish a business model that could be commercially sustainable for both Orbit and CommunityUK.net.
So far, the project has had over 1,500 user registrations and 80,000 internet sessions logged through the network. Orbit’s evaluation estimated a social return on investment ratio of £2.90 for every £1 spent.
Michael Wilby, head of IT, Orbit, said, “The pilot project gave us the opportunity to evaluate the customer and business benefits of the service, and provided a strong case for integrating wi-fi provision into our ICT offer to bring internet access to even more people.”