A pilot project has been launched to connect 1600 people on a housing estate in London to each other and to the outside world. The project which is led by Newham Council, and supported by public and private sector partners, is one of seven around the UK which forms part of the Department for Education and Skills’ “Wired-Up Communities” initiative. The uniqueness of this project is that it is trialing the use of interactive TV.Residents on the estate are being given access to a range of free entertainment and information services, including internet, email, estate website and videos as well as a unique PC on your TV, through a set top box linked to the television in peoples’ homes. The service also includes the estate’s own TV channel and website and a documentary film “Meet the Neighbours”, featuring the residents, will be one of the early productions. Developing the TV channel to engage local people is seen as one of the most challenging features of the project.
Local schools, colleges and East London University will support online learning which includes basic IT , web-site and electronic media development and support for community businesses.
Microsoft is one of the supporting partners from the private sector.