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Birmingham housing association residents to get free Wi-Fi

Over 200 residents in Castle Vale, Birmingham have signed up to take advantage of a scheme to get online with free Wi-Fi access.

The pilot project led by Castle Vale Community Housing Association (CVCHA) and CommunityUK.net will bring free wireless connectivity to the area’s residents.

Supported by the City Council’s Digital Birmingham team, the scheme is one of the largest free Wi-Fi projects in the UK. It will provide ree Internet connectivity, training and support. CVCHA, which manages 2,400 properties, aims to expand the scheme to encompass the entire Castle Vale estate should it prove successful.

Included in this programme will also be the launch of the local Castle Vale and Birmingham CommunityUK websites, bringing residents local news, events, information and more together with integrated, direct access to the new Universal Credits system, web content and functionality from CVCHA and Birmingham City Council.

A new local UKOnline Learning Centre will be set up to support the project and a range of other associated and further supporting initiatives, including employability, innovation and leadership projects with organisations such as Spark Global Education and the Birmingham Leadership Foundation will be launched.

Other digital initiatives covering areas such as e-Health Services, Smart Metering etc. will also be rolled out as part of the project over the coming weeks and months.

CVCHA chief executive Peter Richmond said: “We want Castle Vale to become Birmingham’s first ‘Digital Neighbourhood’. By tackling digital inclusion at many levels it will create the opportunities for people to connect with us and with friends and relatives, buy goods and services, access jobs and prepare those who need it for Universal Credit as well as being a test bed for trialing new applications and services.”

Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Green, Safe and Smart City and Chair of Birmingham’s Smart City Commission, Cllr. James McKay said: “Helping citizens to be part of the online world so that they can solve the problems that matter the most to them and their communities is at the heart of supporting a more prosperous and better way of life for citizens. Our aim is to look at how we build on this opportunity to support affordable, reliable connectivity that is accessible anywhere in the city.”

Image”:Geograph/Michael Westley

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