Free wi-fi is soon to roll out across Tower Hamlets as the council seeks new ways to tackle inequality in the borough.

The council’s cabinet has approved £1.75m of investment to bring free wi-fi to town centres and social housing as well as free digital training to try and connect the borough online.

According to council statistics , 45% of Tower Hamlets residents over the aged of 50 do not have access to wi-fi. The same can be said for 40% of residents with disabilities and 24% of those living in low income households.

The first phase is set to be rolled out by autumn 2018, with over 800 businesses and 130,000 residents expected to benefit in Brick Lane, Watney Market and Chrisp Street town centres.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said: “The internet plays such a big part in life these days that not being connected can be a major barrier, not only to accessing services and jobs but to keeping up with what’s going on in the world.

“Investing to make Tower Hamlets a free wi-fi borough will make the internet more accessible for everyone and will particularly help groups who currently struggle to afford internet access themselves, and who often most need the opportunities it opens up.

“We want to change that by breaking down digital barriers. At the same time we will provide training sessions for residents and businesses to help them get the best out of this new service.”

The council will be working with local organisations to provide digital training for residents, which is due to be available in libraries from October.

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