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Shared broadband service at block/s of flats

I work for a social housing organisation and we have been dicussing how we can provide our tenants a discounted broadband service in high rise blocks of flats in the UK.

I am not looking for a complete solution as I appreciate that as a project there is a lot of detail to cover.  However, if people can provide advice, examples for where this has been done before and how the project can be managed.

Key area's we need to cover would be:

1) Infrastructure, setup of hardware, security, costs
2) How we would charge our customers
3) How we would manage peoples accounts.  We would not look to chase none payments as cost of chasing is often more expensive but if someone did not pay we would need to make a record and be able to "switch them off"
4) From my experience, I am not sure how to provide such as service where the end user will want the wireless ability in their flat but prevent people in neighbouring flats sharing one connection without paying...
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auraorange
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auraorange
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3 Solutions
 
Greg HejlPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
you would need a software such as this: http://hotspotexpress.in/service_delivery/isp.html

there is also software for managing campus connections at colleges that may work for you.

you need to manage users and their connections with a combination of user logins and mac registration.

a backbone switch network to handle traffic from each floor.  if you are not familiar with public switch networks you need a consultant to help with this.

you are on the right path - it's a great idea to provide access to your tenants.

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yarwellCommented:
There was / is a scheme in the West Midlands to supply high rise tenants with broadband via the mains electricity using "powerline" technology. This was chosen as it avoided having to run cables and didn't need lots of wireless devices in vulnerable public areas.

The external connection was provided by high speed wireless off the roof - the wireless company gained from using the tower block as a platform for its network and provided a feed for the residents. Ci-Net were the provider, they have now been taken over. There is some information in http://www.esd.org.uk/esdtoolkit/Communities/DigitalInclusion/Tools/Access%20to%20Electronic%20Services.pdf  and at http://www.governmenttechnology.co.uk/supplier-focus/item/549-ci-net-helps-council-tenants-get-free-internet-access

Powerline has the advantage of requiring a plug-in device that you can rent out to the tenant, or you could collect a fee with the rent. There is still a risk of a tenant providing open wi-fi to neighbours from any connectivity you provide.

http://inca.coop/ may be helpful, they are working on a range of schemes across the UK.
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auraorangeAuthor Commented:
Excellent feedback!  Solihull are actually quite close to us so I can give them a call.

Just another thought.  It would be important to ensure illegal content / file sharing was minimised in terms of protecting people, copyrights and our own reputation would we look to do this inhouse or use a supplier who can control this?
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yarwellCommented:
From my experience you should block P2P (peer to peer file sharing) as otherwise your internet connection will be swamped by a few users. P2P apps have no manners and gobble up bandwidth, let alone potential issues with copyright etc etc.

Some ISPs provide filtered feeds (Plusnet for example have an opt-in firewall for their ADSL connections) and using OpenDNS can also provide an element of family protection.

You'll be needing a fairly big connection and terms & conditions that allow for sharing, so this isn't a standard retail connection and you could negotiate whatever facilities and support you need.
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auraorangeAuthor Commented:
Great feedback!

Thanks for your time and effect I will look to contacting Solihull and the powerline solution (similar to homeplug i guess) sounds a good option!
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