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UK Telco Delivers FREE Wireless Broadband to Children in Manchester

Posted: 23rd Feb, 2010 By: MarkJ
broad oak sports collegePennine Telecom has completed the first phase of a new scheme that will see 1,000 children in the Manchester area being given FREE home Internet access via a mesh wireless ( Wi-Fi ) broadband connection. The £140k project between Bury Council and Broad Oak Sports College said that the first phase covered 120 homes and there are eight more phases to go.

Neil O’Connor, Head Teacher at Broad Oak, said:

"Net@BOSC is an incredibly efficient way to bridge the digital divide because the running costs are minimal and the administration light. We simply give students a user name and password and they can connect. There are no vouchers to redeem or landline or cable connections to be installed so take-up is set to be very high.

That’s important because we do not want any obstacles placed in the way of our students accessing and using e-learning techniques and resources. There are other aspects to take into account too, including access to social networking which is such an integral part of many young people’s lives these days."

Bury Council has installed lamp-posts in the first zone which rise above roof-lines to enhance the coverage. These are now being introduced across the remaining zones to create the full network. The network feeds off a 100Mbps “fat pipe” which runs from the Town Hall into the Broad Oak which then acts as a hub, serving a mesh of transmitters located on and powered by street lights.

The school is able to manage and filter traffic to ensure fair access and speeds, with a daily download set at a generous 1GB (roughly 30GB a month, impressive for a free service!). Broad Oak and Bury Council have funded the scheme solely to ensure low income families in one of the borough’s most deprived areas gain vital internet access.
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