80% of residents on our estate in Gellideg Merthyr Tydfil are affected by welfare reforms. This means we will become increasingly reliant on online access to essential services such as banking and benefits. However, less than a third of our estate is connected to the internet.

Improving access and skills locally is an urgent priority. Without making improvements we will remain at a severe disadvantage as commercial broadband is simply unaffordable.

With Nominet Trust funding our community will prototype the design, installation and development of our own community-led network – moving from a Local Area Network to enabling access to the World Wide Web.

To start, we are running a prototype with 40 homes, with a view to testing the feasibility of scaling to more than 4,000 homes across both the Gellideg and the Gurnos estates.

Over the coming months, a team of Digital Champions made up of residents, local social enterprises, and Merthyr Valley Homes staff with support from tech partners and key public sector stakeholders will co-design and plan the digital infrastructure development in our community. This blog is a place for you to follow our progress and share with us as we learn.