Community WiFi scheme of Superfast Essex project now open to all suppliers

The regional Superfast Essex project which runs the Community WiFi scheme, will make it available to all suppliers this month. Earlier the scheme was offered to only communities, to help them deploy a public wireless network, using local hubs like the community centre, or village halls. The scheme was launched last year and funded by the Community Initiative Fund (CIF) of Essex County Council. So far 19 applicants have successfully received it. The small grants offered are up to £4,000 for community hubs. However, only five of them are live, benefiting Peldon, Mayland, Bradwell, Alphamstone and White Colne, with a public WiFi service.

The local authority received feedback that the scheme offered via only 2 approved suppliers during launch, was too restrictive. Therefore, Superfast Essex has decided to open the scheme, so that communities can use an ISP of their choice to install the WiFi service. Only communities already having access to a network capable of superfast broadband (24Mbps+) are eligible. Likewise, only a venue which is run on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis or by a charity, will be classified as a community hub and be able to bid for the grant.

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