Launch of new Hartlepool broadband service helping people connect to internet for the first time
A new pay as you go community broadband service has been launched in Hartlepool to ensure everyone can have access to the internet.
Get Connected operated by community interest company HartlePower CIC is connecting some of the most vulnerable and people who have never been connected to the internet before.
It provides a powerful 4G wifi router to subscribers which can be set up in minutes without engineers or phone lines.
The service is contract free and operates on a £20 per month and pay as you go basis.
HartlePower CIC have already begun connecting their first customers in Hartlepool, Redcar, and Newcastle, and as far away as Lincoln and London.
Paul Hewitson, director of HartlePower and Get Connected project manager, said: “What we have created is quite special for residents.
"It’s a broadband service that can be setup in minutes and allows you to turn on and off your subscription.
"There are no contracts and we offer an unlimited data allowance (with a fair usage policy) so you’ll always be connected.”
Get Connected is a collaboration between HartlePower and social change charity Joseph Rowntree Foundation, IT consultancy High Tide Group, Redcar & Cleveland Voluntary Development Agency, the Wharton Trust plus some key telecoms industry organisations.
Several years of work has gone into the project before its launch.
Andrew Ingram, director at Wynyard-based High Tide, which has provided invaluable technical support, said: “It really has been amazing to work on such a local community project.
"It’s nothing like we’ve ever been involved with before and to see the faces of people being connected up and them connecting to their loved ones and families has been quite overwhelming.”
Richard Sorton of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which has created a customer support and home visit service for the broadband, added: "The benefit of being digitally connected runs into thousands of pounds every year, if you’re not connected you’re missing out and this project tackles that issue head on.
"Our next job is to build in support to help people to be confident and safe using the net.”
Get Connected can also be gifted to a family member or friend.
The customer support service is based within the HartlePower Energy Hub at Stranton.
For further information about Get Connected call (01429) 555994 or visit www.get-connected.org.uk