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Suffolk councils launch digital inclusion project


Three public sector organisations in Suffolk are taking part in an initiative to install broadband and use video technology in the homes of older and disabled people.

Suffolk County Council, West Suffolk Council and the University of Suffolk have announced the digital inclusion project along with network provider Cisco, Bronze Software Labs and GDS Digital Services (not to be confused with the Government Digital Service).

It will be run for 21 months with 70% of the £1.44 million funding provided by Innovate UK and is aimed at creating a viable business model to increase digital inclusion for people who are least likely to afford or adopt internet access.

The consortium will install secure broadband and connectivity in approximately 200 homes of people who are either supported by the county council or residents of Havebury Housing Association.

The initial priority for the project will be older and disabled people in the community. It will also explore how they can use simple video technology with family members and care professionals.

Remote access

Public sector professionals visiting the homes will be able to utilise the secure connectivity to remotely access public sector networks with certification unique to Cisco routers. The company said this will enable them to conduct their work more efficiently.

Councillor Beccy Hopfensperger, cabinet member for adult care at Suffolk County Council said: “With many of our services now online, it is more important than ever to ensure everyone has access to digital services.

“A vital tool for connectivity, this programme will also enable people to develop the necessary skills and experience to feel more confident online.”

Image by Ben Colley CC BY 2.0 through flickr


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