Minimum Digital Living Standard

New Minimum Digital Living Standard Announced

A team of researchers from the University of Liverpool, Loughborough University, and the Good Things Foundation is pioneering a groundbreaking approach to defining “living standards” for the digital age. Funded by the Nuffield Foundation, their important work has established a new Minimum Digital Living Standard (MDLS) for UK households with children.

Minimum Digital Living Standard report

Defining the Minimum Digital Living Standard (MDLS)

Researchers began the project by establishing what families need to be classed as digitally included, creating a benchmark that can ensure young people have the right combination of skills, technology, and access to thrive in the digitally-driven economies of the future.

“A minimum digital standard of living includes, but is more than, having accessible internet, adequate equipment, and the skills, knowledge, and support people need,” reads the report. “It is about being able to communicate, connect, and engage with opportunities safely and confidently.”

Creating the Minimum Digital Living Standard Framework

Phase two of the project surveyed 1,500 households with children to see how many meet or fall below the MDLS standard. The results will help government, industry, and civil society organisations create targeted initiatives to address digital skills and broadband access gaps.

The Importance of the Minimum Digital Living Standard

Digital technology has become integral to almost all aspects of daily life, and this trend will only continue. But simply having a laptop or affordable broadband connection isn’t enough anymore. Instead, young people need access and technology combined with education and confidence.

“Families’ views about what should be included in a Minimum Digital Living Standard highlight that a laptop or smartphone on its own is not enough, just as having a car parked outside your house is not much use if you don’t have fuel or know how to drive,” states the report. “Being able to get online is essential, but knowing how to use their devices and the internet effectively and safely is crucial.”

A Holistic Approach to Digital Inclusion

The Minimum Digital Living Standard represents a groundbreaking approach to redefining living standards in the digital age. It addresses the skills, knowledge, and support necessary for individuals and families to engage confidently and safely in the digital world.

Simeon Yates, Professor of Digital Culture at the University of Liverpool, is excited about developing the MDLS through direct engagement with families. He believes it has the potential to drive true digital inclusion, giving young people in lower-income households the opportunities to learn today and succeed in the future.

“We can now measure digital inclusion informed by people’s everyday lived experience,” said Professor Yates. “Our definition is holistic, grounded in everyday life and rooted in what people need to feel included and participate in the digital world around them.”

“With the cost-of-living crisis placing more pressure on household budgets, there is an increasing risk that those on the lowest incomes become digitally excluded.”

“Establishing MDLS reduces this risk. We look forward to collaborating with communities, governments, and industry to bring digital inclusion to the forefront of policy-making and work to ensure that MDLS is met in all areas.”

How 6G Internet Helps Families Reach the Minimum Living Standard

6G Internet understands that access and education drive real digital inclusion.

That’s why we started the Internet for Everyone campaign. It gives away free internet to families, schools, and organisations in every town where we build. We also provide free devices to school children, and charities are using our free broadband to run digital skills training courses.

“We think the new Minimum Digital Living Standards are precisely what the UK needs if it wants to build a digitally inclusive society, and they align perfectly with the work we do to help local people stay connected and learn new digital skills, even if they can’t afford a broadband connection,” says Ian Clough, from 6G Internet. 

“We’ll be keeping a close eye on this initiative and have reached out to the researchers to see how we can get directly involved. So watch this space.”

Learn more about our Internet for Everyone campaign.

Millions Forced to Cancel Broadband Contracts Due to High Costs

Citizens Advice Survey Highlights People having to cancel broadband contracts

A survey by Citizens Advice found that high living costs forced a million people to cancel their broadband contracts last year. The group says cheaper packages, called social tariffs, could help those struggling to afford their monthly broadband bill.

1 in 3 households struggles to pay for digital communications

According to Ofcom, one in three UK households struggle to pay for digital communication services. People receiving universal credit and other benefits are more likely to stop spending on broadband. They’re also more likely to fall behind on their broadband bills.

National ISP’s are not doing enough to help families

The government says it’s been working with the industry to create more affordable options starting at £10 per month. They’ve also made it easier for people on benefits to sign up for social tariff deals, and big companies like Sky and Virgin Media have promised to do more to promote these discounted packages.

Estimates suggest that as many as 4 million people in the UK could be eligible for the reduced broadband deals.

Citizens Advice thinks additional pressure is needed to encourage firms to inform customers of social tariffs. It said industry watchdogs like Ofcom need to “hold firms’ feet to the fire” until they improve their social tariff take-up rates.

Awareness of Social Tariffs is not good enough

“People are being priced out of internet access at a worrying rate,” said Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice. “Social tariffs should be the industry’s safety net, but firms’ current approach to providing and promoting them isn’t working.”

The internet has become a necessary utility in daily life, and lack of access is a significant driver of social, economic, and digital exclusion. People without a home broadband connection struggle with job applications, managing benefits, booking GP appointments, staying in touch with loved ones, and finding lower prices online.

Low Cost Broadband from 6G Internet

6G Internet is one of the most affordable independent broadband providers in the North West. Our superfast packages start from just £18.99 p/m and include free installation, unlimited data, and a no mid-contract price rise promise.

And we believe everyone has the right to get online, even if they can’t afford it. Our Internet for Everyone campaign works with local schools and organisations to offer free internet to families and households that need it.

FREE Broadband where we have network coverage

Chances are we are already talking to your local authority about providing FREE Broadband to families and individuals they need to refer to us. When we get a referral from one of our partners we provide a FREE broadband connection no questions asked.

Charities & Voluntary Organisations Apply to be a referral partner

Visit our Internet for Everyone page for more information. Or call us on 0800 246 6767.

Bridging the Digital Divide: How 6G Internet is Boosting Digital Inclusion in Blackburn

In today’s increasingly digital world, access to reliable and affordable internet is crucial for individuals and communities to thrive, both economically and socially.

But unfortunately, many people still struggle to get online.

Digital Exclusion in the North West

Digital exclusion is a nationwide problem. However, it’s especially prevalent across the North West. In fact, there’s a stark north/south divide when it comes to digital inclusiveness. A report by Manchester University found that 53% of people in the North West rarely or never use the internet, compared to 35% in the South East.

Levelling Up Communities in the North West

Bridging the UK’s digital divide is a key part of “levelling up” communities across the North West. So as an independent broadband company based and founded in the North, 6G Internet is stepping up to help.

In this blog post, we’ll highlight how 6G Internet is driving digital inclusion in Blackburn, by providing FREE broadband and positively impacting the local community through local partnerships and our referral partners.

But first, let’s take a close look at digital exclusion and its negative impacts.

What is digital exclusion?

Digital exclusion is the unequal access to and use of digital technologies due to factors like affordability, infrastructure, digital literacy, and personal circumstances.

Essential Online Services for all

People who are digitally excluded often may face difficulties accessing essential online services, participating in the digital economy, and taking advantage of remote work or education opportunities.

Who could be digitally excluded?

Digital exclusion can affect various demographics. However, it disproportionately impacts disadvantaged communities, low-income households, older people, and those living in rural areas with limited connectivity. 

The negative impact of digital exclusion

The digital divide can worsen existing social, economic, and educational inequalities, as digitally excluded individuals are at a significant disadvantage in a society where digital skills and basic literacy are becoming more and more essential.

The negative impacts of digital exclusion include:

  • Limited access to essential services.
  • Less work and educational opportunities.
  • Social isolation.

What’s being done to promote digital inclusion?

Social tariffs are one way to help increase digital inclusion and close the UK’s digital divide.

Families could make massive savings by applying for a social tariff

Social tariffs are low-cost broadband deals offered to customers on government benefits. They help make internet access more affordable for low-income households. These deals typically cost between £10 and £20 per month and save families around £200 a year.

Eligibility for social tariffs

Social tariff eligibility is based on receiving government benefits, including Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, and Income Support. 

Barriers to applying for social tariffs

But despite the potential benefits of social tariffs, many eligible households remain unaware of their existence. A recent report by Ofcom found that more than half of low-income households in the UK are in the dark about bargain broadband deals. In Blackburn alone, around 14,000 low-income households could be eligible for the discounted rates.

Ofcom encourages ISPs to promote social tariffs

Regulators are encouraging broadband firms to make their customers more aware of social tariffs. And while there has been a slight uptake in these deals, the same Ofcom report found that only 9% of those on a discounted rate found out about social tariffs through their provider.

And even if customers do learn about social tariffs, applying for them can feel like jumping through hoops. Providers offering social tariffs require customers to send in proof of their eligibility, which can be difficult for those without access to online services. Plus, many customers are put off applying for social tariffs due to the social stigma of talking about receiving financial assistance or sharing personal/sensitive information about their situation.

Ofcom publishes list of social tariffs from ISPs

Ofcom has published a list of social tariffs that ISPs provide. Many ISPs don’t publicise these low cost tariffs.

What is a social tariff?

Social tariffs are cheaper broadband and phone packages for people claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits. Some providers call them ‘essential’ or ‘basic’ broadband. They’re delivered in the same way as normal packages, just at a lower price. Amid rising living costs, Ofcom is encouraging companies to offer social tariffs to help customers on low incomes.

Ofcom Website

Does 6G Internet offer social tariffs?

No, 6G Internet doesn’t provide any social tariff deals. 

But that’s only because we’ve decided to go one better!

At 6G Internet, we give broadband away for free, no questions asked, to the people who need it the most.

It’s part of our Internet for Everyone campaign, an ongoing initiative that donates a large part of our network coverage to schools, charities, organisations, and families in towns across the North West, including Blackburn.

Free Internet in Blackburn

We work with charities and several partners in Blackburn and the surrounding area to donate free broadband to families and people struggling financially.

Who Are Our Partners in Blackburn?

Our partners include many local schools, churches, mosques, community centres, and charities, including The Hancock Street Children’s Centre. The Hanock Centre recently referred several local families to us, and our engineers are booked in to set up their free broadband connections already.

How to apply for FREE broadband

We don’t ask any questions or require people to send in proof of their financial situation. Instead, all we need is a completed referral form from one of our approved partners.

We then make contact to book an installation date.

No fuss. No hassle. Just fast and free broadband for those struggling with their monthly bills.

“Access to the internet should not be a privilege but a right,” said Ian Clough – 6G Internet for Everyone Co-ordinator. “At 6G Internet, we believe in making that a reality by providing free broadband quickly, efficiently, and with as little hassle as possible.

What is the Free Broadband package available?

Our Internet for Everyone package is a basic 20Mbps. This is enough for checking e-mail, online banking and shopping and working from home.

Can I upgrade from Free Broadband in the future?

Yes, of course when you are able to upgrade just contact our customer service team 0800 246 6767

6G Internet offers more than a social tariff

We understand that social tariffs are a step in the right direction, but we are confident that our approach is more effective and empowering for those who need low-cost broadband the most.”

The Internet for Everyone Campaign in Blackburn

The free internet we supply across Blackburn is helping build better communities and empowering people to take more control over their own lives.

We’re working with charities, including Age UK Blackburn. It uses our free connections to provide digital skills training to older people. Thanks to these classes, seniors can now access essential online services, shop online, and stay in touch with friends and family.

“Lack of affordable broadband is one of the main factors that lead to digital exclusion amongst older people,” says an Age UK Blackburn with Darwen spokesperson. “Working with 6G Internet means we can help older people get connected free of charge.”

Internet for Homeless Pods in Blackburn

We’re also installing free internet connections in 10 homeless pods in Blackburn. The self-contained pods offer emergency accommodation for people without permanent residence.

“This is a great initiative to help people currently living in the pods,” said Councillor Phil Riley, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. “It will allow those living in the shelters to get online and access the relevant documents, learn new skills, and send emails to help them on their way to improving their lives.”

I am not in Blackburn is Internet for Everyone available?

The Internet for Everyone campaign is our commitment to helping the communities that we serve become more digitally connected, and we’re always looking for new referral partners and organisations to work with as we expand our network.

If we can help connect you or your organisation to free broadband, we want to hear from you right now. You can contact our Internet for Everyone team on 0800 246 6767. Or visit our dedicated page.

Superfast Internet Coverage Surges Across the UK

High Speed Broadband For All

The UK government’s ambitious project to expand fibre broadband coverage across the entire country is in full swing, with new data showcasing the regions leading the charge.

New data reveals fibre broadband coverage is making significant progress, with several regions surging ahead in providing ultra-fast internet access to their residents.

According to an interactive map published by the Express, fibre internet has now reached 80% coverage across the UK, marking a crucial milestone in the government’s project.

Can you already get superfast broadband in your area?

The UK government’s goal is to achieve 100% coverage of gigabit-capable broadband by the end of 2025. This initiative aims to ensure that businesses and households across the country can access high-speed internet, fostering economic growth and bridging the digital divide.

But some regions in the UK have fallen behind in the race to provide fibre broadband, including the North West.

Surprisingly many national Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do not provide fibre broadband to all areas in all towns in the North West.

In many areas like Blackburn, Burnley, Bolton and Blackpool national suppliers do not provide fibre broadband. 6G internet use fixed wireless technology to deliver fibre speed broadband to homes in our ever expanding network.

6G Internet superfast broadband is coming to Bolton, Burnley & Blackpool!

The North West has a long way to go before it catches up with many other parts of the UK. Towns like Bolton, Burnley, and Blackpool are still fibre poor, with less than half of residents having access to a fibre-ready connection.

Give us your postcode & house number & we will tell you the options available at your premises!
Our superfast fixed wireless network is expanding chance is we can get you set up today!

But 6G Internet is changing that!

We’re building and maintaining fixed wireless networks in towns and cities across the North West. We’ve connected thousands of people in Blackburn, Darwen, Accrington, Padiham and Burnley to super fast, affordable, and reliable fixed wireless superfast broadband.

And with more networks planned and on the way, it won’t be long before everyone across the North West can benefit from 6G internet fibre-powered fixed wireless internet.

“Fibre broadband is not just a service; it’s a game-changer,” says Tara Murray – Product Manager for 6G Internet. “It opens up a world of possibilities, connecting people in ways that were once impossible.”

“At 6G Internet, we believe everyone deserves access to fast, high speed superfast reliable internet, and that’s why we’re building new fixed wireless networks to connect people and transform the way they live, work, and communicate for the better. The networks we build will ensure nobody gets left behind during the UK’s digital revolution.”

Why 6G Internet will always give away free internet

In today’s digital age, the internet is part of our daily lives. From accessing essential services to staying connected with friends and family, it’s a crucial tool for people of all ages and backgrounds.

But for many people in the UK, internet access is not affordable or accessible, leading to digital exclusion and poorer economic outcomes.

Digital exclusion in the UK

Free internet access is critical to reducing digital exclusion in the UK. Digital exclusion refers to the gap between those with access to digital technology and those without access.

Studies have shown that a lack of internet access is linked to fewer economic outcomes. For example, people who can’t get online struggle to access job opportunities, education, and other critical services, including income support and other benefits.

Digital exclusion can also lead to social isolation and poorer health outcomes, including an increased likelihood of developing mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Some studies have linked digital exclusion to shorter life expectancy.

The impact of digital exclusion

Here are some statistics to illustrate the impact of digital exclusion in the UK:

  • According to a 2020 report by Ofcom, around 1.5 million households in the UK do not have access to the internet.
  • In a survey conducted by the Good Things Foundation, 22% of respondents said they had been unable to access a service they needed because they did not have internet.
  • A 2021 report by the Centre for Social Justice found that 4.5 million adults in the UK lack basic digital skills.
  • According to a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, people without internet access are more likely to be unemployed, live in poverty, and have lower levels of education.

Digital exclusion and the rising cost of living

The rising cost of living in the UK is making it increasingly difficult for people to afford internet access.

According to telecoms regulator Ofcom, more than 9.1 million UK households (32%) are having difficulties paying their broadband bills.

Around 17% of households are cutting back on other essential spending, such as food and clothing, to afford broadband services; that’s four times the percentage of people doing so in June 2021.

Helen Milner is the chief executive of The Good Things Foundation, a UK-based charity that promotes digital inclusion

“Over one in 20 households have no internet at all, either fixed line or mobile,” said Helen Milner. “I’ve met a young woman who wept because we gave her a £10 top-up because it meant she could contact her mum in Ireland. She had two young kids and had no other way of contacting their grandmother.”

Why 6G Internet is giving away free broadband

The 6G Internet for everyone campaign is based on the idea that access to the internet is a fundamental human right. We believe everyone should have equal access to the tools and resources they need to thrive in today’s digital world, even when they can’t afford the monthly bills.

Through this important campaign, we give away 20% of our network for free to schools, charities, and community organisations in every town and area we build in.

We’ve provided free internet to Age UK. The charity uses our free connections to run digital skills classes for older people.

Our free broadband connections at the Foxtown Centre in Preston are helping the city’s homeless and vulnerable groups access financial and health services.

And we recently installed free broadband connections in ten homeless pods in Blackburn.

“It’s a great initiative,” said Councillor Phil Riley, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. “It will allow those living in the shelters to get online and access the relevant documents, learn new skills, and send emails to help them on their way to improving their lives.

“Digital exclusion is a new form of social inequality,” says 6G Internet Digital Inclusion Manager Tara Murray. “Those who don’t have access to the internet will be increasingly left behind in education, employment, and society. The internet is not a luxury anymore; it’s a necessity.”

“And that’s why we will always give away free internet. It’s our commitment to bridging the digital divide in local communities, ensuring everyone can access digital spaces and develop the skills and support networks they need to thrive.”

Click here to learn more about the 6G Internet for everyone initiative.

How 6G Internet is giving Blackpool’s economy a welcome boost

Building new digital infrastructure in Blackpool is crucial to re-igniting the town’s economy, according to a recent study by GOV.UK.

 

The Blackpool Connectivity and Tourism Case Study, published at the end of 2022, conducted interviews with representatives of the Blackpool Council, local business owners, residents and tourists.

 

The vast majority of participants said faster and more stable internet connections would help attract new businesses and give the town’s declining tourism sector a welcome boost.

 

Affordable and accessible broadband would also help residents access essential services, as well as new employment and educational opportunities.

 

Why Blackpool needs better broadband

 

Blackpool remains one of the UK’s most deprived towns. Eight of the top 10 most deprived communities are in Blackpool and almost 50% of local households are below the poverty line.

 

“Blackpool is one of the UK’s ‘left behind’ areas,” writes one of the study’s authors. “Low wages, low employment rates, high levels of benefit claimants, poor health and high exclusion rates from school, mean that child poverty is unacceptably prevalent in the town.”

 

“Together, this has created poor economic conditions that are further exacerbated by a high proportion of residents with long-term debilitating illnesses and some of the poorest mental and physical health outcomes in the country.”

 

Improving the town’s digital infrastructure would be transformative, not just for the next few years but for generations ahead in Blackpool.

 

“Too many homes and businesses in Blackpool do not have access to the internet they need or deserve,” states the report. “If we are to tackle deprivation and unlock Blackpool’s economic potential in a meaningful way, then we need to provide the town and its residents with quality, 21st-century broadband at a reasonable price.”

 

6G Internet: Bringing better broadband to Blackpool 

 

Blackpool needs better broadband and 6G Internet is delivering it right now.

 

6G Internet’s first connections went live in Blackpool a few months ago.

 

Thanks to our new network, residents can get enough broadband to support browsing, streaming, gaming and home working on multiple devices for less than £20p/m.

 

Every connection includes free installation, a no-price-rise promise and, because we deliver air fibre broadband, customers don’t have to pay extra for a landline connection they never use.

 

Our Internet for everyone campaign also donates 20% of all network coverage to schools, charities and local organisations in need and it’s providing tablets and other digital devices to families experiencing economic hardship.

 

“Blackpool now has access to broadband that’s as fast and cheap as anywhere else in the UK,” said a 6G Internet spokesperson. “It’s a true game-changer. Residents and businesses can now take full advantage of 21st-century technology and services. If anywhere deserved this digital upgrade, then it was Blackpool. We’re excited to see the impact the new network will have.”

6Ginternet is helping people through the cost of living crisis

The price of everything is rising, forcing people to make hard choices. A recent report from the BBC found that many of us can no longer afford to pay for food, heating, utilities, and a monthly broadband connection.

Some broadband packages linked to inflation have seen mid-contract increases as high as 11%. And these price hikes have hit the financially vulnerable the hardest.

7% of low earners are now in arrears on their internet bills, owing an average of £171 each. And with further price rises likely, the financial situation for millions of UK households is not looking good.

Lewa and her family have already cut back on food and data to make their income last through the month. Speaking to the BBC, Lewa said:

“Financially, everything has become really hard. I’m struggling with three kids, all at different stages. I have to share internet with my neighbour to save money. My son does all his homework at the library because we don’t always have the internet at home.”

Hafsha Dadabhai Shaikh, who works to help people access free data, explains how Lewa’s situation is far from uncommon:

“So many people out there are making those choices between ‘do I have enough money to feed myself and my family this month?…and do I have enough money left over to put in the kitty to buy some data’?”

And it shouldn’t be this way, continues Hafsha:

“Data and broadband are vital now. “Families have to go online to see their GPs, order prescriptions, manage finances, and get the best deals from supermarkets.”

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries wants big broadband providers to introduce measures to tackle rising tariffs. As of yet, few have taken any serious action.

Broadband provider 6Ginternet understands that reliable and accessible internet is no longer a luxury. Instead, it’s a necessity.

So while everyone else is talking about how to lower prices and help ordinary people, 6Ginternet continues to give away a large portion of its network coverage to schools, charities, local authorities, and other organisations.

It’s called the “Internet for Everyone Campaign,’ and it ensures that everyone can use the internet, whenever they need it.

“Working with 6Ginternet means we can help older people get connected free of charge,” says an Age UK Blackburn spokesperson. “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.”

6Ginternet: an independent broadband provider putting people before its profits.

For more information on the Internet for Everyone Campaign, visit 6Gintenet.com. And if you’re part of an organisation that could benefit from free broadband, call 6Ginternet 0800 246 6767.

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)