City WiFi, Public WiFi – Why “Community WiFi”?

This is a question we get asked all the time and the answer, we believe, is straightforward. With “City” or “Public” WiFi, we are building a network that is only meant to be accessible in “Public” places like city streets and attractions, shopping centres, libraries, bars and hotels etc. With “Community WiFi”, we build networks with the express purpose of bringing affordable, high speed Internet connectivity to whole communities, inside and outside of their homes, who would not otherwise have it.

It’s as much about Digital Inclusion as it is about connectivity and as much about people as it is about technology. And we are doing it successfully all over the UK. Across housing estates in the most deprived of areas, our Free Community WiFi is enabling kids to study and access their homework on-line, the unemployed to search for and find work, everyone to bank online, shop online and generally run their lives as they should be able to in this digital world.

In locations where the traditional providers have yet to deliver the fabled high speed connectivity we so often hear about either at all or in any realistic timeframe, we are able to work with whole communities to develop an immediate solution using secure wireless and other technologies to deliver the connectivity they so desperately need. Take a few moments to look below at just what we can do to help - We think you might be a little surprised.

Connecting people to the world and the world to the people…

Surfing the web copyWith the world so focused on the digital channel, it is almost impossible for anyone to live their life or run a business fully without affordable and consistent high speed access to the Internet. To be honest, we can give you examples of Community WiFi networks we have built from across the UK.  However, a perfect example of what we can do can be found in the network that started it all for us, Leigh Park in Havant, Hampshire.

Hampshire County Council found that in 2010 almost the entire population of the estate ranked within the 20% most deprived in the UK and suffered from higher unemployment figures (5.5%) than the Havant borough as a whole (3%), with the majority of those unemployed being young, single males.

With these problems in mind, we began to work with local schools and the Leigh Park Community Improvement Partnership to obtain £50,000 of funding from the e-Learning Foundation in order to ensure that regardless of financial capability, all children and residents have access to e-learning and e-community systems. Using the grant, a high-speed wireless broadband network offering FREE 4mb Internet connectivity (managed and monitored by DUG) was installed along an early prototype of our own hyper-local community portal.  The Network also offers high speed connections (up to 30Mbps) from as little as £7.99 per month, without a contract.

Our network now covers as many as 6,500 households, has hundreds of registered users and has been featured on BBC Click (see video here). With plans to upgrade the network’s infrastructure in the near future, upgrade users to faster FREE speeds and roll-out a comprehensive ‘Going All Inclusive’ Digital Inclusion programme to build on the work already achieved by Hampshire Learning, exciting times are ahead for those living in Leigh Park!

No High Speed Broadband available? No problem! …
And it’s not just about the Technology either
Real Time intelligence that gives you the edge
Smart innovation is core to our success

Our core ethos and business model is built around the belief that we must deliver real benefit to the people, communities and organisations we work with. As a member of the Digital Leaders 100 Club and a signatory to the UK government's Digital Inclusion Charter, we help to end digital exclusion and make the UK one of the true leaders of the digital world.

Contact Address

   Digital Unity Group Ltd
         18/19 The Walled Garden,
         The Nostell Estate,
         West Yorkshire,
         WF4 1AB

   +44 (0) 330 122 4650
  +44 (0) 330 122 7425
  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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