Improving rural access to Superfast Broadband is an important priority for Community First and one that is recognised by Defra which provides funding for involvement in this issue.
- Community First is supporting the work to improve Wiltshire’s broadband by:
- Encouraging communities to get broadband issues on the agenda
- Encouraging communities to include broadband as a topic for community led planning
- Providing communities with information and support about funding opportunities
- Providing information and guidance about community broadband solutions
- Collecting information about broadband issues and challenges to help influence future services
- Working with rural services such as village halls and Local Councils to widen the provision and use of broadband and online services
For more information please contact Jane Windle-Hartshorn.
Its not just individuals and businesses that can benefit from fast broadband speeds.
Here are some ways in which broadband can help the life of our communities:
- Showcase your community on a website that brings together events and local information for residents, visitors etc
- Work on the move at a WiFi hot spot in a shop, café or public building
- Read minutes of Parish & Town Councils on their websites
- Some community buildings and village halls have WiFi or can provide broadband connection for hirers
- E-newsletters and mailings save postage and printing for community groups
- Keep in contact with your group members by email so that discussions continue between meetings
- In civil emergencies such as flooding, send quick alerts via email, social media or posted on websites
- Maintain easy links to other similar organisations
- Build up a following for your online newsletter or blog
- Find out what other communities are doing by searching online
- Use online tools to easily arrange meetings, run consultations and polls and find out what people think about local issues
- Share photos and film clips from community events and meetings in your community
- Run an IT club for those wanting to learn about digital technology
- Share documents ‘on the cloud’ for easy commenting and editing
Broadband brings many benefits to homes and businesses and it has quickly become an essential utility for modern life.
However, for many rural areas in Wiltshire and some parts of Swindon Borough broadband speeds are slow, and access to Superfast Broadband may seem a distant dream.
Superfast Broadband brings greater connectivity and this will have benefits for:
- Rural economy
- Social interactions
- Educational services
- Health and social services
- Access to information and services
- Community lifeCommunity engagement
The good news is that in Wiltshire the project to rollout Superfast Broadband is well underway as part of the partnership project between Wiltshire Council and South Gloucestershire Council to benefit from government funding through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) to widen access to Superfast Broadband.
Alongside the rollout of Superfast Broadband the Wiltshire Online team are working to promote the benefits of going online to those who are infrequent users or have never accessed online services. The team are also working with communities to start up digital literacy volunteering opportunities, helping to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to become a confident user of digital technology.
If you would like to know more about what is happening about Broadband in Wiltshire and the Wiltshire Online Programmeplease go to http://www.wiltshireonline.org
If you would like further advice and support with computer basics, please contact the Wiltshire Online team on 01225 793349.