TechResort has been working on ways to bring down the cost of devices and connectivity locally. We’re based in Eastbourne and areas of our town rank in the top 20 percent nationally for deprivation. It’s vital work.
We’ve started two conversation locally, but think they’ve got potential for a national reach. One’s with our local credit union, the other an internet service provider.
We’ll update this page as our work develops. If you’re doing something similar, or would like to get involved please post in the comments.
East Sussex Credit Union (ESCU)
Our connections with ESCU are through a common interest in digital inclusion with the Eastbourne office. We started a conversation about ways we could help members take out affordable loans to buy digital equipment. This lead to three actions:
- ESCU reviewed the reasons given for lending during the past six months, and identified that requests related to buying digital equipment are increasing
- they launched a digital loans campaign targeted at members needing to borrow up to £1,000 to buy computers or tablets based on affordable repayments
- the organisation has added loans for digital equipment to its annual survey to collect data on the local need. They’ll share this data with us and other interested parties to coordinate and focus future initiatives
The bigger picture
ESCU is one of 277 credit unions across England, Scotland and Wales with 1,428,641 users, total assets of £1.82 billion and total loans of £1.1 billion. They’re all members of the Association of British Credit Unions.
This scale offers the potential for the introduction of digital loan schemes such as that recently launched by ESCU, across Great Britain, as one way of helping people obtain computers and tablets in an affordable way.
Such an initiative may open opportunities to reduce the cost of buying through national or regional wholesale supplier agreements across all 277 credit unions, leading to a discount from normal market rates to give greater value to borrowers.
CloudConnx - internet service provider
CloudConnX is a full service internet service provider with operations in Sussex, London and Dorset. The company provides telecoms, connectivity, hosting, wifi and cloud services to a broad range of clients in the commercial, healthcare, local and central government and emergency service sectors.
CloudConnx is joint venture with the local borough council and has a mission to provide true competitive advantage to Eastbourne, and East Sussex based businesses. This is on a local, national and global basis via advanced network communication technologies and Cloud based services.
Affordable connections for our community
The company is mindful of the wider non-business community and is working closely with a number of local authorities to roll out connectivity solutions that address digital poverty and inclusion.
They work with five local authorities currently and have had these relationships since 2013. There has been an emphasis recently on rolling out more existing services to a larger part of the digitally deprived groups and the social care community.
- public wifi in public buildings, libraries, care homes and town centres. Around 1.5m users benefit from being able to access the Internet via CloudConnx services in public and social care settings
- delivery of broadband services in social housing environments to tenants who would otherwise not meet affordability or credit checks with providers. This covers 40 locations currently with close to 100% take up in each
- a solution that enables local authorities and support agencies to offer subsidised broadband services to digitally deprived citizens. This revolves around the wholesale purchase of fibre connection capacity to make it affordable to end users, primarily in deprived areas
The bigger picture
CloudConnx is developing the initiatives above at pace, and is keen to collaborate on projects with local authorities, and third sector organisations like others.