Internet for everyone
In an increasingly digital world, we believe it's absolutely vital for everybody to be able to take advantage of the many benefits offered by the internet. Unfortunately, there are still significant barriers to some people getting online at home – even here in the UK.
According to Ofcom's 2018 Adults' Media Use and Attitudes Report, the proportion of adults in the socio-economic groups D and E who do not go online is almost double the UK average (22% vs. 12%).
As a result, there is a divide between those who already take the internet for granted and people who are becoming digitally excluded.
Who are most likely to be digitaly excluded?
Many of the people who are most at risk already come from a disadvantaged background, further widening the social gap and making it more difficult for them to achieve the same quality of life as people with regular online access.
This can include individual and overlapping demographics such as:
- Social housing tenants
- Low earners
- Unemployed people
- Benefit claimants
- Disabled people
- Elderly people
What are the causes of digital exclusion?
One of the barriers to getting online for these demographics is the long-term contract that internet users are required to sign. A standard package will often run for 24 months, with a mandatory credit check and penalty charges for missed payments.
While cable or fibre operators will argue that this is necessary in order to cover their own costs and maintain a consistent service, these requirements can make it difficult for people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get online.
For unemployed people or those on low incomes, it is a significant risk to commit to such a long-term contract. If there are other issues such as a bad credit rating and other debt-related problems, they may not be accepted even if they can afford the monthly payments.
What issues do people face from digital exclusion?
With the vast majority of public and private services now moving online, people who do not have access to the internet risk falling behind their peers in a number of different areas:
- Less able to connect with friends and colleagues via social media or email
- Unable to access news and information as quickly
- Unable to find the cheapest deals on anything from utility bills to holidays
- Find it more difficult to find and apply for jobs, access benefits or manage their finances
- Restricted from taking advantage of online health services such as GP appointments, assessing illness symptoms or joining support groups
Digitally enabled social housing
Here at 6G, we are different to traditional internet providers. Because we operate our own wireless broadband infrastructure, we have none of the overheads faced by operators who use pre-existing cable or fibre networks.
This allows us to be able to offer free 1Mbps broadband to all social housing residences:
- For a small installation fee, a council or social housing provider can connect a flat or house to our air fibre wireless broadband, allowing tenants to access 1Mbps broadband for free or upgrade at their own discretion.
- Our free broadband comes with a generous data allowance of 1GB per day, which tenants can use to access council services, claim benefits and take advantage of all the positive features of being online.
- The free broadband can also be upgraded with a voucher on a 'pay as you go' basis, allowing residents to buy unlimited broadband with speeds up to 40Mbps whenever they want, for as long as they need.
- The 6G connected property can change hands with no bills to calculate, negotiate or pursue - the free 1Mbps internet is simply available to the next tenant to use as they see fit.
- Your tenants can use the internet at their convenience, with no credit check and no long-term contract.
The benefits of digital inclusion?
We believe that being online can make a huge difference in the lives of people who come from deprived or disadvantaged backgrounds, from their career to their health. This has been backed up by a range of studies carried out over the last five years, which prove the benefits of digital inclusion:
The poverty premium adds an average of £490 a year onto the living costs of residents on benefits or a low income. However, according to BT's 2014 Valuing Digital Inclusion report, getting online is worth £1,064 a year to individuals (and increases each year) due to:
More efficient services through channel shift
With Universal Credit now only applicable online, it has been left to local authorities to ensure that applicants have the access and skills necessary in order to claim this benefit. But without access to home broadband, claimants must to travel to council offices and libraries to make a claim – putting pressure on both their own time and council resources.
With 6G's free broadband, social housing tenants can manage their Universal Credit claim from their home while taking advantage of the other digital services offered by the council. Every residence connected to free home broadband offers the potential to reduce the number of calls, letters and face-to-face appointments required for tenants to pay bills, report issues and make enquiries.
According to a case study outlined by the LGA in 2017, when Dacorum Borough Council channelled more residents to use their online services through 26 newly digitised processes, they projected they would:
- Save 4804 working days over a 5-year period
- Save a further 1612 working days every year after that
- Save in the region of £435,000 over five years.
Stronger health outcomes
According to the NHS, supporting people to get online and use digital health resources can be crucial to achieving local priorities, including:
- Physical and mental wellbeing
- Avoiding deterioration of existing health conditions
- Long term condition management
- Appropriate use of urgent and emergency care
- Shared care
- Shared decision making
During the NHS's Widening Digital Participation programme from 2013-2016, 220,000 people were helped to use online health resources for the first time. An evaluation found that of all the participants that took part:
- 56% went on to find information on the internet about health
- 59% felt more confident in using health information
- 51% have now used the internet to explore ways to improve mental health and wellbeing
- 52% feel less lonely or isolated
- 54% of those in need of non-urgent medical advice said they would now go online before consulting their GP,
- to look at sites such as NHS Choices
- 21% have had less visits to their GP
- 22% have progressed to booking GP appointments online and 20% to ordering prescriptions online
- 39% have saved time through carrying out health transactions online
Help your residents take control of their internet
Tenants are in charge of what they pay
Once the installation is paid for, your tenants will be permanently connected to 1Mbps internet with no line rental and no monthly fee, meaning the whole household can use instant messaging and emails to communicate without paying a penny for their connection. They get an enormous 1GB of data available per day, and if they want to go faster, they can simply buy unlimited broadband with speeds up to 40Mbps whenever they want, for as long as they need.
Complete online control
Whatever change residents need to make, they can just log in to their account and take control at the touch of a button. If they need a hand with something, our free live chat service has an average response time of just 42 seconds and usually resolves their query in five minutes flat. It's one of the reasons our customer satisfaction is rated at 91%. And if they want to call us about their setup, they receive free phone support for 30 days after installation.
Our customers always get the speed that was promised
Unlike cable fibre providers, we don't offer 'average speeds.' When our engineers install 6G in a resident's property, they will make sure they get the exact speed that was advertised - and they'll prove it to them before they go. Our engineers will also make sure their devices are connected properly, so the customer can just get on with streaming and browsing to their heart's content.
Help your residents take control of their internet
Free unlimited broadband for school children scheme*
For tenants living in social housing, money can often be tight, but that shouldn't mean they can't access the internet. That's why we're working to provide children eligible for free school meals with four hours of upgraded, unlimited broadband with speeds up to 5Mbps for free each day. These subsidised pay as you go vouchers mean children living in deprived areas will never have to worry about whether or not they can complete their homework or suffer as a result of being digitally excluded.
Never be chased to pay another internet bill
Our pay as you go service means social housing tenants only pay for the internet they need. No bills for empty properties, no having to calculate, negotiate or pursue bills when their property changes hands. We think it's the most flexible internet in the world.
Unlimited calls with free 1 Mbps internet
If your residents prefer the phone to the internet, they can take advantage of unlimited calls to landlines and mobiles for a monthly fee*. Not only will it be cheaper than BT, they also get permanently free 1Mbps internet as part of the package and in most cases they can even keep their own number. And if they ever do want a boost, they can just upgrade their internet speed for as long as they like and reduce it back down whenever they fancy.