|Landline-Free Low-Cost Internet (LOCI)|
| Posted on 31/05/2014 - 17:44|
The idea is to provide low-cost, basic Internet to residents of social (assisted) housing, without each household needing to pay for individual landlines. The estimated cost per household for the UK is aimed at being £3..00 (€3.75) per month.
A home internet connection presently requires either a landline or a mobile device (e.g. dongle), for which cost is upwards of £15 (€18.50) per month, to which the cost of broadband must also be added (the most basic being £3 (€3.75) per month in the UK equals £18 (€22.25) total). This is often seen as unaffordable by the poorest EU citizens who are suffering from increased Digital Exclusion, as more and more essential services move online. Educational Institutions, for example, expect students to have home access for assignments and job seeking is now increasingly online. Within the UK the impending rollout of Universal Credit is a major concern, as it will require claimants to be online and risks causing a major drop in income to Housing Associations, who are most keen to address this.
Sort-IT.Biz (www.sort-it.biz), in partnership with innovation company Railfast Intermodal (www.railfastintermodal.com), aims to deliver an affordable solution which is easy to install and can cope with the various types of older buildings which are typical of social housing. This will require the acquisition and testing of various low-cost wireless technologies, as well as a marketing campaign targeted at Housing Associations, in order to test various potential solutions within a live envirnoment. Any award would also support the forging of links with various charities, whose aims include addressing Digital Exclusion. 'Basic Internet' would include email, web browsing, Skype calls and low-quality video streaming. It would not support gaming, or other such high-quality video applications.
Target group and social impact
The Target Group are the poorest EU citizens, who cannot afford a landline and who tend to rely on Pay-As-You-Go mobile phones. The ability to make calls using Skype will mostly likely reduce the cost of mobile calls, which in turn will help cover the £3..00 (€3.75) per month anticipated cost per household. Access to Basic Internet will reduce Digital Exclusion and boost Equality. It will improve access to essential services, such as Health, Education and Social Welfare Payments. Further benefits include better access to the jobs market, for which citizens will be better equipped (i.e. Economic). Having access to the Internet at home will help the Environment by reducing the need to travel (e.g. to the local library for access), which will also save reduce household travel costs.
Competences of the applicant
Since 2003, Sort-IT has specialised in providing completes IT solutions to its customers, from hardware and software requirements (including web design & development), to installation and on-going support. Railfast Intermodal (www.railfastintermodal.com) is an innovator in multimodal logistics and IT, with assistance currently being received under the EU's ERDF (HiTechRail) Programme.
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