Today’s housing associations are looking to better support the needs of their customers by providing digital and mobile-accessible services. But nudging customers towards online channels is just part of the challenge. Because the digital divide is a growing problem.
According to the ONS around 17% of UK homes do not have internet access, while a recent report from OFCOM highlights that 5.9 million people have never used the Internet.
That means millions of UK citizens are at serious disadvantage right now, a situation that will get worse as we all become more reliant on online services. And social tenants are particularly at risk.
The issue of digital exclusion is a challenge that social housing providers need to tackle. The growing power of digital means they need to get their tenants online fast and in an affordable and flexible way. It’s becoming a key aspect of their corporate and social responsibility.
That’s because housing associations recognise that Internet access can generate measurable and positive outcomes for their tenants:
But addressing the digital divide has other advantages – like enabling social housing providers to more cost-effective ways of communicating – like email and chat – with residents.
Wireless technology can make it very easy to share connectivity over a large area, enabling housing associations to affordably bring access to those who may otherwise miss out.
And by offering internet access that’s managed in the cloud, housing associations can give tenants an easy and secure way to log onto the association’s web portal to submit queries, pay bills and pick up communications, no matter what device they’re using. And built-in content filtering can be used to limit sites that users can access.
You can even set up free wireless ‘hotspots’ in your premises or communal areas where tenants can sign into guest services using a social media log-in – like Facebook. In a couple of clicks they can be online with no intervention from the IT support team.
With Digital Inclusion rising up the agenda, today’s social housing organisations are looking to address the challenge by giving tenants free internet access that gets them online and connected.
MLR Networks can design and install a wireless network for your offices and tenant properties which will give you an easy to manage network, helping your tenants to close the digital divide.
Get in touch to find out more.