Hounslow Council Cabinet agree updates to Digital Strategy as Community Fibre complete broadband rollout to Council homes
Published: Wednesday, 26th October 2022
Hounslow Council’s partnership with Community Fibre yields successful results with over 14,200 properties and community spaces benefitting from faster internet connections through Community Fibre’s £6 million investment.
Hounslow Council signed a non-exclusive wayleave agreement with Community Fibre in March 2021. The agreement with Community Fibre meant the company were able to install fast internet connections in more than 14,200 properties and community spaces. The work will continue in the Hounslow West area - delivering a further 3,400 properties by the end of 2022. The offer will be widely promoted including through Community Solutions, the Council’s overarching approach to early help and prevention, and the Hounslow Connect Digital Platform.
Community Fibre is also currently the only broadband provider which doesn’t ask customers to provide proof of eligibility from those wanting to access a social tariff. Its Essential 10 Mbps package is available to anyone who needs support staying connected online during the cost of living crisis.
The agreement with Community Fibre was reached to vastly improve connectivity rates in the borough and tackle digital exclusion. Since works began last year, full fibre connections have increased from 13.6 per cent to 37.2 per cent. In the Feltham and Heston parliamentary constituency this rise has been even more dramatic with connections increasing from 8.5 per cent to 44.5 per cent in just one year.
Last week, the Council’s Cabinet approved the progress and updates to the Council’s Digital Strategy. Since being first approved in March 2020, the strategy has achieved a range of successes including:
· Empowering libraries to become digital data hubs
· Delivering over 1300 recycled laptops and desktops to people in need
· Providing skills workshops and improving online access to Council services.
Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, Leader of Hounslow Council, said:
“Digital inclusivity is the main aim of the Council’s Digital approach, ensuring communities are connected and inclusive with no one being left behind. During the pandemic, we identified the problems affecting our residents and have implemented real changes to residents’ lives, ensuring they are connected through fast broadband services and have the skills necessary to succeed in the digital age, which has become more important than ever.
“Tackling digital exclusion is one of the many ways we are reducing inequality in the borough. We’ve made huge uplifts to the areas that needed it the most in areas such as Feltham and Heston.
“Digital Inclusion has three key elements, skills, access, and affordability, whether that means us stepping in to provide the equipment and infrastructure to get people connected or working with our community and voluntary sector partners to deliver training and support including through our Community Solutions approach, we are committed to improving our residents’ quality of life.”
Graeme Oxby, CEO of Community Fibre, added: “At Community Fibre, we believe that everyone should have access to the best internet to ensure growth and greater opportunities for all. We are pleased to be working with Hounslow Council to bring London’s fastest internet to its residents at the best prices, as we continue to accelerate our full fibre rollout to facilitate better internet for everyone supported by our Community Investments and Digital Ambassadors programme.
The Council’s annual Digital Festival will be announcing its line up soon. Keep up to date of when it will be kicking off by visiting hounslow.digtial.