Council tenants in North Solihull can look forward to free or subsidised broadband as part of a Solihull Community Housing initiative designed to help bridge the 'digital divide'.
The project will deliver broadband wirelessly to the rooftops of multi-storey housing blocks, with access distributed to the flats below via electrical power lines. The service – designed for low-paid workers and single-parent families - will be delivered to the buildings via CI-Net's 'pre-Wimax' RedKite wireless connectivity product.
As well as providing free broadband, the backers have won the support of charity ReCOM, which has agreed to provide recycled PCs for tenants. Furthermore, training organisation the Colebridge Trust has agreed to provide internet training to those that quality for the scheme.
"One of our technical challenges was finding a low cost, low maintenance, reliable way of providing internet connectivity," said Chris Deery Head of IT at Solihull Community Housing. "We wanted to minimise the civil engineering work required to deliver broadband to the multi-storey buildings, as well avoid causing disruption to individual tenants during implementation."
As well as providing broadband for tenants, Redkite's service will create a wireless hotspot area around the Solihull Community Housing buildings, an initiative the council hopes will help attract local businesses to help regenerate the area.
The organisation is planning to deliver connectivity to the first building at the site in June 2008.