allpay Broadband, Herefordshire Housing
Every Herefordshire Housing tenant will have access to free broadband within the next five years, according to its chief executive.
The ambitious goal was set after the 5,500-home social landlord agreed a unique partnership with local service provider allpay Broadband.
The partnership will initially see wireless broadband installed at three sheltered housing schemes in the county, providing residents with broadband speeds of up to 10Mb.
The first scheme to benefit is Innesfield in Clehonger where the allpay system is serving a communal area along with 31 bungalows.
Peter Brown, Herefordshire Housing chief executive, says digital inclusion is high on the agenda for his organisation.
“Broadband is increasingly becoming the fourth utility and we want as many tenants as possible to benefit from having high-speed internet access in their home,” he said. “We chose the scheme at Clehonger to test the allpay system as it is a rural location and BT have only been able to provide 2Mb to this point.
“We feel access to the internet can help change people’s lives – from shopping, to contact with family members as well as accessing our own services.”
The next sheltered schemes to benefit from the partnership with allpay Broadband will be Southgate in Ross Road, Hereford, and Bryngwyn Court, off Barrs Court Road.
As part of its digital inclusion drive, Herefordshire Housing is providing training and support to residents who need help getting started on the internet.
If all goes to plan, Herefordshire Housing hopes to have all of its older persons’ schemes covered by the end of 2012.
Tony Killeen, allpay Managing Director, said the partnership with Herefordshire Housing was an ideal fit for his organisation.
“allpay already helps housing associations across the UK with the collection of rent through our bill payment systems, so it is a natural fit for us to provide them with broadband solutions as well,” he explained.
“Digital and financial inclusion are high up the allpay agenda and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Herefordshire Housing.”