The Social Connectivity Project in Kent started in November 2021. The aim of the project is to create and promote a toolkit for district councils and housing associations to use to ensure all of Kent's residents have access to gigabit fibre broadband.
The project, being coordinated by Simon Sim, is working with borough and district councils and housing associations to make sure social housing and flats are connected to gigabit fibre broadband infrastructure and do not miss out due to challenges around legal agreements and communication between organisations.
The Kent Social Connectivity project is currently in the pilot stage, working with district councils and housing associations in Kent and Medway to formulate a toolkit, which can then be adopted across Kent and Medway.
There are three elements that underpin the entire Social Connectivity Project, which are:
To ensure social housing, flats and apartments do not miss out on the current commercial investment into fibre broadband due to difficulties around identifying and being able to make contact with the appropriate person responsible for the broadband connection. Including making sure those involved are aware the telecom companies will be making the connections for free. This will include making sure the works are done to a high standard and with minimal disruption and maximum social value for tenants.
Helping the telecom companies and landlords streamline the legal process to carry out the work. This mainly consists of a legal agreement called a wayleave agreement. All these works will be non-exclusive to provide tenants with choice.
Finally, working with tenants and telecom companies to make sure the broadband packages offered to tenants are affordable and fully take advantage of the fibre broadband so that no household is digitally excluded. This will also ensure maximum uptake so all households will have the capability to access online services and benefits of ultrafast internet connectivity.