6G are proud to work with IX Wireless to introduce a gigabit network to Blackburn

As a local broadband provider we are proud to be working with IX Wireless who have gained Government praise and recognition for introducing a gigabit network to Blackburn.

Government Minister officially launches Blackburn’s gigabit broadband network.

The gigabit broadband network across the Lancashire town of Blackburn has been officially launched.

Oliver Dowden CBE, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, spoke about the ‘game changing’ network being rolled out across the region in a virtual launch this week.

He was joined by founder of IX Wireless, Tahir Mohsan and Philip Walker CFO.

The company is managing the 6G Internet in towns in the North of England, providing gigabit internet at lower prices than providers such as Virgin and BT.

Mr Dowden said, “I am delighted to join you for the virtual opening of your Blackburn gigabit network, which is really going to provide some of the fastest broadband on the planet to tens of thousands of people across the North West and it is all part of this government’s once in a lifetime upgrade to the digital infrastructure.”

“I would like to really pay tribute to you and other alternative network providers in that mission, particularly in the North West. The Blackburn network has been built in only nine months and I know you have got very exciting ambitions to reach another 250,000 premises this year and to reach 4 million premises by 2025.”

The minister was keen to stress how the network was helping charities and community groups in the area, “You are also giving back to communities you connect. So, 20 percent of your capacity is being given to social causes that connect places such as school children for free.

“It really does show how much we can achieve when we bring together the power of private investments and government programmes along with close collaboration with local government.

“Project Gigabit is the levelling up game changer. Northern towns and cities are getting gigabit first in a big boost for the region and it means people will be able to run a business from anywhere.

“They will be able to move to places that were previously in that box of ‘left behind’ but are now affordable and attractive places to move to and raise a family.”

Mr Dowden said post lockdown the network would help businesses and residents across the region.

“The work you are doing is a central part of our recovery from coronavirus and our bid to build back better from the pandemic. Homegrown operators help provide thousands of jobs across the telecom sector and this once in a lifetime upgrade of the nation’s network will mean we are more productive than ever boosting our economy when it needs it.”

Executive member for regeneration in Blackburn with Darwen Council, Phil Riley said, “At the present time, we have got some of the fastest broadband in the country. That is the sign of the town looking up and to the future.”

“We were the first borough to take up this opportunity and other local councils have followed suit.

“We have worked closely with the company to minimise any inconvenience throughout the process.

“The result is we have something which is a real asset for the residents and will eventually become a major asset for the businesses in the borough too.”

6G Internet for Everyone initiative – 100th free connection

6g Internet 100th family connected freeMarch has seen the 6G Internet for everyone initiative hit an important landmark.

100 new free connections have now been installed in homes and community venues throughout the Blackburn area.

As numbers continue to grow, we received a timely reminder this week of just how relevant each individual connection can be.

Back in May 2020, we were asked by a local charity to connect a family that they were helping.

This is the feedback that we received from the family.

“The installation was great and straightforward. The workers that came were very polite and professional and all in all everything was quickly done.”

“….. without it my 10-year-old daughter would have seriously struggled with schoolwork, keeping in touch with family and friends and playing online her games in her free time.”

“I’ve been shielding for nearly 12 months now and, without this contact with the outside world and being able to online bank and shop online, I would have seriously struggled to manage, stay safe and stay sane !!!!”

Ian Clough, who coordinates the 6Gi Internet for everyone initiative said, “It was great to receive this positive feedback. It really emphasises how important a home internet connection is. Not just during lockdown but as an ongoing resource. Cost and long-term contract should never be a barrier to being able to get online at home.”

For more information on the 6Gi Internet for everyone initiative, please contact Ian Clough

M: 07854 604944 E: ian.clough@6gdsi.co.uk

6G Internet Teams Up with Local Charity

6G Internet Teams Up with Local Charity

We have been working with local schools since before the pandemic started, as we recognised the importance of internet at home for children.

Offering home broadband to families in need has always been an important part of our ethos but it’s not just children we want to help. Having worked with charities such as Age UK and local community projects, our aim is to stop digital exclusion, which is why we have committed to giving away 20% of our network for free, to causes and families.

When the pandemic hit, we knew home internet was more important than ever. Homeschooling is near impossible without access to the online resources children need. 

In January we heard about The Computers for Kids Appeal that had been set up by a local Blackburn charity called Secret Santa. Through donations of laptops and PCs, their plan was to refurbish, update and give away the devices for free to children on free school meals.

When we contacted them, they had already donated over 50 devices as part of their appeal. We explained to the charity that we would like to help them in their mission and offer a free broadband connection alongside the devices.

We knew that having the tools to learn was a massive step forward for these children but without internet they would face further barriers.

We are now working together with Secret Santa to help as many families and their children as possible to get connected and to continue to learn at home.

At 6G Internet, we are all immensely proud at just what we have achieved so far and how much of a difference we have made to these children and their family’s lives.

Who knows what the future holds? What we do know is that we will continue to try and make a difference and make life a little easier for those that need it.

6Gi – Internet for Everyone – Preston.

Preston, LancashireTo date, the 6Gi, internet for everyone initiative has been focussed largely in the Blackburn and Darwen areas, where we are working with schools, charities and community groups, to help people get online.

As the 6Gi network continues to grow, we are now in a position to launch the initiative in neighbouring Preston.

Already we have created links with the Preston based social landlord, Onward Homes and three local schools.

Scott Brerton, Social Investment Specialist at Onward Homes, observed that,

“Having access to the internet is something that most of us take for granted but for some families, it’s simply unaffordable. Working with 6Gi has enabled a number of families across our neighbourhoods to have free internet access. This, alongside the laptop lending libraries we’ve worked together on with some local schools, has enabled many young people in the area to have equality of opportunity, being able to access online learning during the current pandemic.”

In addition to the work with individual families, we have also provided free connectivity for some local community centres, including the Foxton Centre on Knowsley Street.

The centre’s Team Manager, Lara Budd, acknowledged the value of the support from the 6Gi internet for everyone initiative.

“The free Wi-Fi connection at The Foxton Centre, Preston, means that the homeless community and other vulnerable groups can access essential services on the internet. It will also make it easier for people who are experiencing a tough time to stay in contact with friends and family. The level of service we received from 6Gi at the centre was excellent and installation was very straight forward.”

Ian Clough, who leads the 6Gi internet for everyone initiative, is keen to develop new links in the Preston area.

“As in Blackburn and Darwen up to 20% of our network is being made available to support local digital inclusion work, I would urge any Preston based organisation with an interest in helping people to get online, to get in touch with me.” (ian.clough@6gdsi.co.uk)

6G Internet Help School Children to access the Internet from Home

Making sure that all school aged children, in areas where we work, can access the internet at home is a key aim of the 6G Internet “internet for everyone” initiative.

6G Internet for everyone

For too many families on lower or uncertain incomes, cost and long-term contracts have been barriers that have proved impossible to overcome.

The pandemic has shown us all how much we rely on the internet for so many things nowadays, not least of which is education. That some children do not have that access seems plainly wrong and unfair.

6G Internet is therefore committed to working with schools to identify families needing help and to provide them with a free basic home connection.

We are currently working with Roe Lee Park Primary School and Brookhouse Primary School in Blackburn.

Both recognised how important it is for all children to have internet access at home.

Laura Butterworth, Deputy Headteacher at Roe Lee Park, commented, “When classes have to isolate for a fortnight, without internet access, that is two weeks of their learning completely lost, extending the education gap even further between those families who can afford to access live lessons from their child’s teacher every day and those who are not in this position.”

Rifat Rasul, the Home/School Liaison Officer at, Brookhouse Primary School, echoed this, “Internet access is paramount in the current climate and even more important for children’s education and learning throughout the pandemic.”

Both Laura and Rifat acknowledged that the partnership with 6G Internet has had a positive outcome.

Laura observed that, “This is having a considerable impact on the children’s learning, as we can now confidently say that all of our children, across our entire school, will be learning every single day, whether or not they are able to be physically in school.” 

Rifat added that, “As a school, it is important that we support all children with their education and 6G Internet has been instrumental in providing a fantastic service.”

Ian Clough who leads the 6G Internet “internet for everyone” initiative said, “As well as providing the connection, we try to make sure that the family can also get hold of a suitable device, like a recycled laptop or tablet, by drawing in help from other organisations. For example, in Blackburn we have worked with Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, in Preston with the social landlord, Onward Homes and, in many instances, schools themselves have been able to source equipment.

If you are a school that could benefit from the “internet for everyone” initiative or you can support the project by providing laptops or tablets, please contact:

Ian Clough

Ian.clough@6gdsi.co.uk

St Silas is an iconic Victorian church over-looking Blackburn town centre.

St Silas Church Tower

Over the years, St Silas Church has seen many initiatives to modernise it, with the installation of central heating, kitchen, toilets, modern lighting and the creation of an open community space at the back of the church, over twenty years ago, all of which presented challenges at the time.

The latest challenge has been to install Wi-Fi in the Church.

The church has always aspired to be a community hub where local groups can meet and local community agencies provide support to their users, as well as providing spiritual and pastoral support to the care homes and individuals who are house-bound in the area.

Like many churches St Silas has tried to make the most of using online technology during the pandemic but the lack of Wi-Fi within the Church was a big limitation.

6G Internet are a local Internet Service Provider. Over the last year or so they have been working with schools and charities in the area to set up free home connections for families struggling to get online. Through one of those charities, Age UK, 6G Internet were introduced to Sheelagh Aston, the Priest in charge, at St Silas Church.

Over the summer, the Church leadership team, along with Jill Cowgill of architects NWDC, worked hard to overcome the challenges inherent when working in a Grade II listed building and, in October the installation was successfully completed.

6G Internet Receiver

Both installation and ongoing usage has been provided entirely free of charge by 6G Internet as part of their “internet for everyone” initiative.

Sheelagh is excited by the new opportunities that online connectivity opens up “We will be able to live stream our Sunday Service to create an inclusive bond between those who are in church and those at home thus breaking down the feelings of loneliness and IT group is already experimenting with online training sessions which could be broadcast from church to remote participants”

There is a strong bond between the Church and local schools and Sheelagh added, “We are now working with our schools to explore how short virtual tours or lessons can be streamed to them at a time when visits are difficult.”

Ian Clough who leads the 6G Internet digital inclusion projects said, “the work with St Silas is a new strand of our “internet for everyone” initiative. For over a year now we have worked with schools and charities, aiming to make sure that everyone in Blackburn and Darwen has access to a free basic internet connection at home. The new opportunities created by connecting community buildings like St Silas are really exciting and I believe that their hard work has created a template that others can follow.”

Contact

Rev Sheelagh Aston

Priest in Charge

St Silas, Blackburn

stsilasblackburn@gmail.com

Healthy Churches, Transforming Communities

Diocese of Blackburn

Ian Clough

6G Internet

Ian.clough@6gdsi.co.uk

The Blackburn based Inspire Motivate Overcome (IMO) charity initially began its work in 2006.

IMO CharityIts overriding aim was and remains, “to work with and enable communities to improve their quality of life and be more resilient.

Two of the key areas that it focuses its attention on are Health & Wellbeing and Education & Employability.

As both access to health services and access to educational resources have increasingly become an “on line” only option, having an internet connection at home has moved rapidly from being a “nice to have,” to an essential resource.

For many families on lower or uncertain incomes however, cost and long-term contract has proved an insurmountable barrier, a problem brought into sharp focus by the various Covid-19 restrictions.

6G Internet has always adopted the principle of “internet for all” and has committed to make up to 20% of its network available free of charge.

Linking with IMO is therefore a natural fit.

IMO Chief Executive, Stephen Jones said,

Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the prevalence of digital exclusion within our communities, especially amongst vulnerable groups. So, being able to work with “6G Internet” to identify and secure free internet access and keep them connected has been invaluable to the families we are supporting through this crisis.”

6G Internet are delighted to be working with IMO and will continue to do so to achieve the shared aim of ensuring that the internet is a resource for all.

If you would like to work with our “6G Internet for everyone” programme, please contact us at https://www.6gdsi.co.uk/contact or email Ian Clough at ian.clough@6gdsi.co.uk.

6G Internet for everyone

Helping Age UK to Bridge the Digital Divide

Age UK Blackburn and DarwenAge UK are committed to providing life enhancing services to older people in the community.

Befriending services, advice services and neighbourly volunteering are just a few examples of the fantastic help they provide for the elderly.

Their digital buddies support older people in becoming more tech savvy, which has never been more relevant and important as now, during the current pandemic.

With this in mind, 6G Internet identified a way to help older people who are digitally excluded and missing out on this valuable support.

John Verity, Age UK Blackburn and Darwen Digital Inclusion Development Manager said;

Lack of affordable broadband is one of the main factors that leads to digital exclusion amongst older people. Working with 6G Internet as partners has enabled Age UK Blackburn with Darwen to help older people to get connected free of charge. This allows them to experience the many benefits of digital technology such as keeping in touch with friends and family, shopping online and using health services online

According to the Office for National Statistics, over two thirds of the digitally excluded are over 65 years of age.

6G Internet believe there should be Internet for All and work tirelessly to achieve this by donating 20% of internet bandwidth to disadvantaged and socially excluded groups.

Many essential services are now carried out online, such as ordering prescriptions and applying for benefits. Older people without internet access, are being left behind and are at huge disadvantage compared with their online peers.

6G Internet’s free internet, along with the IT courses provided by Age UK, mean that people have access to the necessary resources and don’t need to feel out of their depth online.

Once connected, Social Networks become within reach. This means the elderly can stay in touch with loved ones, swap photos and Social Isolation can feel that little bit less lonely.

6G Internet are committed to bridging the digital divide and look forward to a future where there is 6G Internet for everyone.

Blackburn families offered free broadband to help during pandemic

Blackburn families are being connected to free superfast broadband to help ensure pupils and their parents can access online support during COVID-19.

Thanks to a partnership between 6G Internet and , families without home internet are provided with free connections and equipment.

Part of 6G Internet’s commitment to donate 20% of its network to social causes, the scheme aims to give pupils the best chance of progressing at school while they’re stuck at home, while also offering families more opportunities to access support during the lockdown.

Keyworker Nathan Morrison has two sons and was connected to 6G Internet after being contacted by Longshaw Community Junior School, where his eldest, Franklin, 10, attends.

He said: “We’ve always used our phone data at home for our laptop, but it was extremely slow and the data would always run out so quickly.

“Since we’ve had the broadband connection it’s made a massive difference during lockdown. Franklin loves playing outside so it was tough before – but the kids are much happier now.

“Franklin has been able to learn from the school’s website and research projects online. He’s recently been learning about the fashions from different eras like the Tudors and Victorians and he loves it.

“It’s also been a life saver for keeping them entertained while we’re stuck at home.”

The scheme has also helped the family of two boys attending St Michael With St John CE primary school in the centre of Blackburn.

Their father said: “We have never had the internet before, I don’t really know how to use a laptop. But we recognised that as our boys were in school they would need it for online homework.

“I was worried that they would fall behind without it. Since we’ve had the connection from 6G Internet the boys have really enjoyed doing maths games via the school’s website.

“Now I’m trying to learn how to use it myself – I’m hoping to learn through my children.”

Ian Clough, head of digital social inclusion at 6G Internet, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus just how important an internet connection is. Home broadband can be a lifeline if you’re self-isolating and is vital to help pupils access their school work, which is why we are working with schools, charities and other agencies to get families connected at this difficult time.

“However this is wider issue than simply the impacts of lockdown. 6G is committed to a long term aim of ensuring that neither cost nor long term contract is a barrier to a basic internet connection at home.”

Organisations interested in partnering with 6G Internet can enquire at https://www.6gdsi.co.uk/contact

Blackburn pupils offered free home internet for schoolwork

Blackburn pupils who can’t get online at home are being offered free broadband and computer equipment thanks to a scheme run by 6G Internet.

As part of a trial with Sacred Heart RC Primary School, Lancashire-based 6G Internet is connecting families to free basic home broadband, with refurbished laptops provided by Blackburn Rovers Community Trust.

The free internet permits 1 GB of data per day and allows unlimited usage between 4-8pm on weekdays and 9am-9pm on weekends to help children do their homework.

Abdul Rehman, 4, and Imtisal Rehman, 5, both attend Sacred Heart and are some of the first children to benefit from the scheme. Their mother, Rabia Naveed, said that she and her husband had never previously been online at home.

She said: “We don’t have much experience with the internet but we both realised that it was important for the children – this is the first time we’ve had access to a computer in six years.

“Education-wise it’s much more fun for Abdul and Imtisal and it’s easier to keep them interested. We’ve downloaded some maths and English games which help the children memorise things much faster.”

According to the ONS, 700,000 children cannot access the internet via laptop or tablet at home in the UK, 68% of whom have said they struggle to do homework as a result. In addition, a further 60,000 having no home internet access at all.

6G is currently expanding across the North West and will serve around 4 million households within the next few years, with the free internet provided as part of 6G’s commitment to donating 20% of its network to achieve positive social change.

Ian Clough, digital social inclusion lead for 6G Internet, said: “Having no internet access at home  doesn’t just mean children struggle to do homework, it makes it more difficult for families to access government services like Universal Credit, find jobs, manage money, book appointments or find the best deals on everyday essentials. Things that many of us take for granted.

“In Blackburn we were fortunate enough to receive some recycled computers from Blackburn Rovers Community Trust which meant that not only were families connected to the internet, they also had the means to get the most out of the connection. I’m hoping that we can replicate that kind of partnership throughout Lancashire.

“We are really pleased with the outcome of our trial with Sacred Heart and we are now offering to help schools across Blackburn, Preston, Blackpool and Bolton.

“I believe that we can help Lancashire become the first area of the UK where no school aged children are missing out on being able to access the internet at home because of cost or long term contracts.”

Schools or charities can register their interest in the scheme at www.6gdsi.co.uk/contact