Plan to fit ‘super-fast broadband’ to London council flats
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government
London borough’s council flats to be fitted with ‘super-fast broadband’
Wandsworth Council is considering options to give council tenants access to fibre optic broadband.
As part of the council’s ‘Connected’ campaign, it wants to ensure estate tenants can get online as easily as the rest of the borough. Currently 85 per cent of Wandsworth residents have some form of internet access - up from 74 per cent in 2007 - but the figure falls to around two thirds among council tenants.
Currently there is nothing to stop tenants subscribing to broadband, but in blocks of flats this has traditionally been via copper wire, the council says. This means they had to pay line rental and delivery speeds are not always as fast as advertised.
Instead, Wandsworth wants council tenants to be able to subscribe individually to the fibre optic broadband offered by the company chosen to work in partnership with the council. It says there would be “no charge to the council so no costs to pass onto council tax payers”.
The council believes the super-fast speeds offered by broadband could help council tenants and leaseholders access online services - both from the council and others. It also highlights the Government’s changes to the benefits system under Universal Credit where claimants will have to manage their applications online.
If the council's housing committee agrees to the plan at its meeting on November 14, officers will start work gathering information on the market and gauging residents' interest before beginning the official tender process.
Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said in September that the Government will explore a 'social housing broadband tariff' to enable those to claim the new Universal Credit online.
Its aspiration is for 80% of Universal Credit claims to be made online by 2017.