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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2003


Sometimes broadband's just not enough ...

How do you extend government services on-line if your customers don't have computers? One British community is tackling this issue with a special wireless-linked bus full of computers:

"Halton Borough Council's Benefits Express bus is the winner of the UK's 2003
Local Government IT Excellence Awards. Equipped with laptops connected to
the council's benefits-management system, the bus helps local people
navigate the bureaucratic maze of applying for housing benefits and council
tax relief. Face-to-face contacts are especially helpful for the elderly and
those with disabilities. The bus has helped reduce the amount of time wasted
dealing with incomplete claims and has helped the council meet "best value"
targets set by the central government. "It's been incredibly well received,"
says Peter McCann of the Halton Borough Council. Since the bus began touring
the borough in December, the average time needed to process a benefits claim
has fallen from eight to two weeks. Although the council runs web-based
e-government services, these are not the solution to most benefit claimants'
problems. 'On the Web we felt we were just tinkering on the edges,' says


(Link from Jennifer Hill via the Benton Foundation's Communications-Related Headlines news log)


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