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Leeds provides free internet for social housing tenants


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Leeds City Council has installed free broadband connections to two of its social housing tower blocks in an initiative with wireless broadband provider 6G Internet.

The move is part of its 100% Digital Leeds programme aimed at improving digital inclusion in the city, along with financial savings, reduced isolation, better employment prospects and improved health and wellbeing.

As part of a 14 month trial, 160 residences in the Grayson Crest and Clyde Grange blocks have been connected to 6G’s wireless internet. It is streamed to the tower blocks via radio antenna and provides residents with 5Mbps connections.

The council is making it a priority to equip its residents with broadband access. It estimates that 25% of its 57,000 social housing residences do not have permanent access to the internet, which creates difficulties for many, such as those wishing to claim universal credit online.

Quality of life

Ian Montgomery, tenant engagement manager at Leeds City Council, said: “We know people suffer from a lower quality of life as a result of being unable to access the social, educational, financial, recreational and health benefits of being online.

“By connecting these flats to the internet and supporting people to learn how to use the technology, we are helping residents to find improved deals and save money, apply for jobs, manage finances and maintain contact with family and friends.

“It also helps the council to be more efficient, as residents are able to access online services to claim benefits, report issues and make payments.”

The connections have been made for a one-off fee, with tenants then able to connect to the internet for free or choose to purchase faster broadband speeds on a pay-as-you-go basis.

A spokesperson for 6G said the connections have been in place for about three months and that Leeds Council is considering extending the service throughout its social housing over the long term.

Image by Mtaylor848, CC BY-SA 3.0

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