We know that some parents find it hard to get online at home even when you know how increasingly important it can be for you and your children to get online for their schoolwork. You may be unable to get a landline installed because of a past bad credit rating, for instance or that the cost is simply too high. It is also possible the property has been blacklisted because of a previous tenant and you cannot get it lifted. Whatever your circumstances may be there are options for you and we working to add to these all the time. Here are a few ideas that might help you find a solution that’s right for you.
Getting online at home
You may already have signed up to Sky or Virgin Media for your television and telephone needs. You may find that adding Broadband will be relatively inexpensive and in some cases could even be free.
If you don't want to wire up your house with Broadband, you can wire up the computer instead. Many mobile phone providers can provide a gadget known as a "dongle" that plugs into the computer and allows Internet access. These are available under a contract or on a Pay As You Go basis.
Increasing numbers of telecomms companies are also now offering something sometimes called MyFi or MiFi units. MiFi is a brand name used to describe a 'wireless router' that acts as mobile WiFi hotspot. A MiFi device can be connected to a 'network' and provide internet access at home or wherever you want to use it for five or more devices but without the need for a landline.
We are currently working on developing some special offers with national providers and please do come back to this page soon and we'll aim to have more news as soon as possible.
Wired up cities
Some towns and cities are planning to create a "wireless cloud" for all the residents to connect to the Internet through. Under this arrangement all the families would have wireless access without the need for a BT line and a separate contract. We would suggest you check with your school and Local Authority to see if such a project is planned where you live.
Although this does not solve your problem of Internet access at home, you could find out where the free "Hotspots" are in your area where you and your children can get free access to the Internet. These may include local libraries, coffee shops, fast food restaurants, community centres and youth centres; in fact more and more places are offering this and often free of charge.
From time to time the e-Learning Foundation is able to negotiate free or heavily discounted deals for Broadband at home. These are always offered through schools so please check with your school to see if they are an affiliated member of our network and hence eligible for these deals.
We hope that this helps you find the right solution for your family. If you discover better solutions do let us know so that we can share the information.
If you are unfamiliar with the Internet and are worried about the dangers you have heard that children can face online, or you are worried about the time your children might spend on the Internet rather than pursuing other activities then please read our pages on 'Safety online’ and 'How technology helps learning’ which may put your mind at rest and give you advice on how to supervise and manage your child’s time online.