Consultation on full fibre internet for social housing residents

Hackney Council wants to enable the installation of fast, modern internet connections to all social housing in the borough so that tenants and leaseholders will have access to some of the best and most reliable internet service in London at some of the most affordable prices. 

The new full fibre connections will replace old and slow copper networks, and the installation and management of the updated systems will be carried out by telecoms companies at no cost to the Council, tenants or leaseholders. 

In preparation for the work, the Council is seeking the views of its tenants and leaseholders on proposals. It is also seeking comment on the community benefits that could come as a result, and looking to understand some of the reasons why some residents cannot currently access the internet. Views collected from residents will shape the plans the Council takes forward in negotiations with the telecoms companies. Have your say here.  

David Padfield, Interim Director, Housing Services, said: “Internet is now the ‘fourth utility’, an everyday necessity alongside water, electricity and gas, and the Council is committed to improving access to the internet for those currently experiencing difficulty doing so. 

“These new full fibre connections will mean impressive social benefits for our residents, including fast, low-cost access to the internet, which in itself brings a range of associated economic and wellbeing advantages. 

“Residents will be able to switch to an internet package offered by the new providers only if they want to.”

In order to ensure that as many residents as possible can benefit from better internet, the Council will be seeking commitments from companies to:

• Install connections to as many homes as possible, not just ones which are easy to connect to

• Offer low-cost, subsidised packages for those less able to pay, and options which do not require credit checks or fixed-term contracts.

The Council will also ask companies to contribute to social initiatives. These could include:

• Free internet connections to community halls

• Provision of IT equipment for community use

• Digital and online training for residents

• Apprenticeships for local people

• Employment opportunities for local people.

Full fibre describes the material (fibre-optic) used to connect the internet to homes. Old networks run on copper wiring. Full fibre is considered the future as it is fast, reliable and allows households to use multiple services (like Netflix, iPlayer, gaming, and video calls) across multiple devices without a drop in service. 

The Government aims to retire the old copper network by 2027, by when everyone will need to have access to full fibre.

The Council’s consultation runs until 15 December 2019. Questions about the consultation can be sent by email to: consultation@hackney.gov.uk; or alternatively, call: 020 8356 2467.