Council tenants in North Solihull are to be given free or subsidised broadband delivered over power lines, allowing them to access the internet from electrical sockets in their homes.
The service will initially be installed in a single multi-storey housing block, but if successful plans are in place to roll it out to other nearby tower blocks and then to residences in the area.
Bandwidth will be delivered wirelessly to rooftop radio receivers and distributed to individual homes via electrical power lines in the buildings.
A 'gateway' within each building will transfer the incoming bandwidth to the electricity cables running to individual flats.
Tenants who qualify to receive internet access will be given specially designed converter units which can be plugged into any three-point socket, allowing them to connect to the network.
The project is been run by Solihull Community Housing (SCH) and implemented by wide area network specialist CI-Net via its RedKite wireless connectivity platform which uses Pre-Wimax radio signals to deliver services.
"One of the technical challenges was finding a low cost, low maintenance, reliable way of providing internet connectivity," said Chris Deery, head of IT at SCH.
"We wanted to minimise the civil engineering work required to deliver broadband to multi-storey buildings, as well avoid causing disruption to individual tenants during implementation."
As part of the project a wireless hotspot will also be set up in the area for use by the Solihull Metropolitan Council and local businesses in the area.
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