I wrote this blog back in November 2021 Digital Inclusion in Hounslow – Hounslow.Digital and given the cost of living pressures we are all under wanted to go back and see what we have achieved and what more we need to do.
With Digital Inclusion we need to deliver the hat trick of connectivity/devices/learning so have been reviewing progress with this in mind. We now have increased resources in this area to drive the work forward and the Digital Inclusion Commitment was approved in October 2022 Year Two update of Hounslow.Digital Digital Strategy – 2020-25 – Appendix 1 – Digital Inclusion Comm.pdf . We have KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) we report back to Directors on quarterly basis. All the work across Council is coordinated through the Digital Inclusion Group which includes colleagues and partners alike.
More detailed information on digital inclusion in Hounslow here Digital Exclusion | Hounslow | Report Builder for ArcGIS.
We are rolling out better connections to our Council sites with new fibre connections – some as part of a grant from TFL (Transport for London) for the sites harder to reach alongside making it easier for all to get online and provide better facilities as part of the Council’s warm spaces work Warm Spaces | London Borough of Hounslow.
This time last year we had signed wayleave agreements with Community Fibre and Hyperopic. Since then, we have signed with OpenReach, and Community Fibre have finished their rollout to Council flats (Community Fibre’s £6 million broadband investment ensures Hounslow’s communities are connected | London Borough of Hounslow).
The annual Ofcom report on connectivity has come out this week based on info from Sept 22 (Interactive report – Ofcom). Whilst it is not as current as the information from sites such as thinkbroadband which are updated regularly it provides a great snapshot and reporting to reflect on progress over the last year.
The report shows the good trend in Hounslow continues – in Sept 21 were 1716 premises with poor broadband based on Ofcom definition as at Sept 22 were down to 799.
Premises with Fibre broadband in Hounslow were 11519 in Sept 21 in Sept 22 up to 33478.
So, some substantial progress here but lots more than needs to be done in 2023 and plans are in place for this including promotion of social tariffs and the social value offerings from suppliers as take up continues to be slow across all operators.
Our aim last year was to recycle 700 devices per year, we have completed 1300 since 2020.
For 2023 we are aiming for 1000 devices to be recycled working with in partnership with Our Barn Community – Home alongside our Community Solutions colleagues and have the plan and resources in place to do so.
Adult Education continue to have great courses for digital skills – more information here Hounslow Adult and Community Education – Adult Courses (hace.ac.uk).
We are working to recruit Digital Champions with our partners – if you are interested in this please send an email to email@example.com.
We also had our Digital Festival during November with lots of opportunities for all to get training along with the continued free access to sites such as this: Make It Click (learnmyway.com)
So, overall, a lot done with lots of fantastic partners over the last year with lots more planned to continue in 2023 to ensure we maintain the great progress made over the last 2 years.