Southwark chosen for launch of first Hyperoptic Digital Skills Academy

Written by Our News Team

Hyperoptic, which provides the fastest residential broadband in the UK, has launched its first Digital Skills Academy for local people in Southwark. The initiative will enable 50 volunteer champions to be given free training and support to help develop the digital skills of other residents in the borough.

Southwark Council entered into an agreement with Hyperoptic last year to enable 100,000 homes and businesses in the borough to have access to gigabit full fibre broadband, at no cost to the tax payer. Since then, Hyperoptic has invested in connecting the whole of Southwark Council’s housing portfolio, including 53,000 residential homes and nearly 1,000 commercial properties with full fibre to the premises.

The new Hyperoptic Digital Skills Academy is now recruiting the 50 volunteers from library staff, residents looking to upskill, or students who will gain valuable CV enhancing skills. The volunteers will attend an introductory session delivered by training specialists We are Digital and be provided with ongoing training and support through Digital Unite’s Digital Champions Network.

The Network is an award-winning learning platform that provides accredited online training, hundreds of ready-to use teaching resources, a peer community and project management tools.  Once they have completed their training, the Hyperoptic Digital Skills Champions will then share their skills in workshops they set up in the local community.

Hyperoptic provides free full fibre broadband connections to six libraries in Southwark where some of the training will take place (Canada Water, Peckham, Dulwich, Camberwell, Grove Vale, Kingswood, New Walworth). Hyperoptic will also work with these libraries to identify ten residents who use Southwark Council’s free home library service, to provide six hours of in home training from We are Digital. The in-home training will be for residents with disabilities, older people, carers or those who cannot visit a library.

Anyone interested in applying to become a Hyperoptic Digital Skills Champion should email: [email protected]gov.uk.

Speaking about the launch of the Hyperoptic Digital Skills Academy, Councillor Stephanie Cryan, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Business and Innovation said; “We are delighted Hyperoptic is launching this initiative.  The role of the champions is set to be incredibly valuable for the community as well as immensely rewarding for those involved. We want to make sure that all residents benefit from opportunities to take advantage of the digital revolution and this initiative helps to provide that opportunity.”

Dana Tobak, CEO, Hyperoptic said: “We believe everyone should be able to access and benefit from reliable digital connectivity and we are thrilled that our skills academy will help connect even more people in Southwark to the possibilities available to them online.

 “Just 7% of UK premises have access to the gold standard of fibre, but thanks to the foresight of Southwark Council, the area now has access to the fastest broadband available in the UK, enabling homes and business to make the most of today’s connected devices and streaming services, as well as future proofing the area’s infrastructure for tomorrow’s technology.”

Just two years ago consumer champion Which? Named the London borough of Southwark as one of the 20 worst places in the UK for broadband speeds – averaging 10.4Mbps.  Now Southwark is connected to the fastest UK broadband available.  Hyperoptic achieves these speeds through installing fibre all the way to the building rather than relying on old copper wiring which was designed over 140 years ago to carry much smaller volumes of data at a time before connected or steaming devices.

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