Blog Post – Bridging the WiFi divide
I’ve written a blog post about bridging the WiFi divide in North Liverpool and it would be great if you could have a read and respond.
I had an interesting conversation the other day about the digital divide in North Liverpool. For those of you not in the know, North Liverpool is one of the most socially and economically poorest areas in the country, surprising I know as the city of Liverpool had 3/4 of a Billion pounds pumped into it in the last Ten years. But I digress
We were discussing the problem of giving people greater access to the internet, and how this could be done, one of the solutions we thought it would be good to look at was to “WiFi bridge the digital divide”.
You see there are businesses, community and voluntary organisations in the North Liverpool area who have Internet access, don’t get me wrong this is no backwoods but the take up of of the internet by the wider community is smaller.
So what you may well be saying- well the so and the what is that if the Government is looking to make all of it’s services (Digital by Default) all available on line then the population in this area are going to miss out on quick and easy access to government and council services – thereby hindering them even further. If you think that most jobs are available to apply for via the web, and then you don’t give people access to the web so they can apply for those jobs then you are disenfranchising them even more. And the last thing we need is to cut people off even more than they are already. So easy access to the Internet is a must for them.
So going back to the organisations I mentioned earlier the businesses, the community and voluntary organisations – it might and probably is possible for them to be able to offer a certain amount of their internet access available to the wider community via WiFi, this would of course need to be locked down and secure for the sake of the business but 10% could be made available to the wider community. This would involve setting up their routers to allow for this and also ensuring that the WiFi that was made available wasn’t just downloading vast quantities torrented data as this would make the companies that supplied the WiFi liable, but i am sure this could be done.
So what would it require…. This bit is over to you but some suggestions have been new routers for those involved in the project and some sort of funding to allow for the purchase of the routers. Also a good knowledge of how different Wifi signals could be combined to produce a cloud of WiFi – maybe it might be worth a chat with the Manchester WiFi people which I think was put together by Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA). Also a knowledge of what the uptake would be by both the organisations involved in contributing their WiFi (can they write it off as tax?) and the level of uptake amongst the residents.
If you are around in Liverpool and would like to get involved in a talk about the North Liverpool Digital Divide then we are hoping to have a discussion about it on Saturday 1st September in FACT Liverpool as part of their Mediated Garden project – it just means we get to sit in the sun on their roof while talking technical solutions to everyday problems. Mail me for more details.
Original posting http://www.defnetmedia.com/blog/2012/08/bridging-the-wifi-divide/
One person has already commented on Facebook that it should be down to the council to provide this WiFi connectivity and that it shouldn’t have to rely on Businesses in the area. Fair comment but I don’t feel the council would even consider this approach of bringing together a consortium to make it happen.
Could it be a partnership between businesses and the community at large?
Your thoughts are always appreciated especially if you would know how technically to make this happen.