Reaching the hard to reach? The rural public access WiFi service delivery model: role, potential and pitfalls

Hassan Hamdoun, Fiona Williams, Althaff I Cader Mohideen, Lorna J Philip, Gorry Fairhurst, J H Farrington

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paperpeer-review

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The Digital Economy (DE) has opened up new opportunities for societal wellbeing across many domains of life. Businesses and government in the UK and elsewhere are seeking to capitalise upon these opportunities in terms of reduced operational costs and improved services. However, a sizeable minority of the UK population lack access to basic DE enabled services and therefore do not yet participate in this Digital Economy. There is a growing social and economic gap between those who are connected and those who are not, the ‘digitally excluded’. This paper outlines the Rural Public Access WiFi Service (PAWS) delivery model that is designed to promote connectivity amongst ‘hard to reach’ households in a remote rural area. It describes the deployment methods and technology enablers surrounding a pilot using satellite broadband connectivity for a case study in remote and rural south Shropshire on the English/Welsh border. This includes analysis of social and technological data to give insights into the reasons behind rural digital exclusion and the online behaviour and experiences of households now receiving Internet access via the PAWS technology. The paper concludes with some reflections on the potential and the pitfalls of the model adopted in PAWS to provide connectivity to a ‘hard to reach’ population.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2014
EventDE 2014: All hands Conference - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Dec 20145 Feb 2015


ConferenceDE 2014: All hands Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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