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Communities

Communities can also benefit from access to broadband. This section provides more information on the support available to communities.

How could faster broadband benefit our community?

Having access to faster broadband does not just benefit individuals and businesses, it can also benefit local communities.

If your community is in a "not-spot" or "slow-spot" for broadband, you may wish to become involved in a community campaign for better broadband in your area, or start one yourself for your village.

Please take a couple minutes of your time by registering your community group and please do encourage friends, family and colleagues to do the same.

Faster broadband allows communities to benefit in many ways:

  • Support for community life
  • Allows local people to become more active within their community by making it easier to be involved with local groups
  • Allows quick access to updating websites, making using the internet a good route for groups to keep their members informed
  • People with a faster broadband connection are also more likely to use the web as a way to find out what's happening in their area e.g. many community initiatives produce websites for their residents.  These often detail what is happening in their community, local planning applications, issues that will affect the area, etc.
  • Many other community groups also use the web to keep members informed and involved, from Scouts groups to local pensioners' forums.  If you would like to create a website for your community, there are several free and straightforward ways to do this.
  • http://www.btck.co.uk/ is the BT Community Web Kit, which lets community groups to develop their own free template based website.  If you do not have superfast broadband in your community, a local campaign to improve this might be a first step for better community involvement.

Better access to services

Many government and other services are now moving online.

Fast broadband allows individuals and communities to access a wide range of services from sites such as http://www.direct.gov.uk/.  This site allows users to find out information on a huge range of topics, from "who is the local neighbourhood policing team" to "how to make your community greener". 

Other online commercial services may also be helpful to communities and individuals e.g. living in a rural area without owning a car may make shopping a problem.  Many supermarkets offer online shopping with delivery to your door - easy to access with faster broadband.  Likewise, other services such as online banking make life easier for people in more remote communities.

Virtual working / Teleworking and other business opportunities

Broadband, combined with a change in the nature of some work and an increased emphasis on work/life balance, has lead to a new type of work - "virtual working" or "teleworking".  By using internet-based technologies, people can work as effectively at home as in their employers' office.

High-speed broadband makes many companies less dependent on their geographical location.  This increases the possibilities for home working for their staff, bringing employment possibilities into more rural communities.  Broadband could hence both help businesses grow and create alternative job opportunities in communities. 

About 6 million people in the UK work either full-time or at least part of the time from their home (European Labour Force Survey 2010).  Some will run home based businesses, and some will be employees.  Many would benefit from fast broadband connection.  This also means that more rural areas may not be deserted during the day, as office workers commute to the towns and cities.  A growth in people working at home, using fast broadband, would also have "green" benefits too - less cars on the road, less pollution and CO2 emissions and less congestion in towns and cities too.  A community with good broadband would also potentially have more people around during the working day: this may even lead to reduction in crime figures.

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