Social housing provider, Plus Dane Group, has signed a three year contract with Purple WiFi to provide their WiFi solution across 31 venues in Merseyside and Cheshire. The WiFi solution will be available in all premises owned by Plus Dane and also in communal areas for tenants.

The social WiFi overlays the existing telecoms provision meaning that the service can be installed without any disruption to existing internet connections.

Currently there are 21 Cisco access points in place at the Plus Dane Group Head Office. The plan is to roll out the guest WiFi across 30 sites with one Cisco Meraki AP each, including community and leisure premises managed by the Plus Dane Group.

The big attraction for the Group to install Purple WiFi is that the software solution is completely family friendly; something essential to a social housing provider working within local communities. As a member of the Internet Watch Foundation, Purple WiFi provides content filtering, which protects users from viewing potentially abusive or illegal content.

Tenants will be able to get online within a couple of clicks, by using their existing social media authentication or a short form. Once they have logged in once to Purple WiFi, they won’t need to keep filling out a registration form or remember complicated usernames or password on subsequent visits. The system will simply remember them and they’ll be online seamlessly.

In addition to providing tenants with safe and secure online access, the Group will be able to use the Purple Portal tool to provide relevant content to those using the WiFi, enabling them to communicate meetings, new services available to those living in the community, opening hours of public spaces, updates on any repairs being made across the estate, etc.

On the decision to install Purple WiFi, Neil Hill, Network Infrastructure Analyst at Plus Dane Group, said: “As part of our Ni-Di Initiatives (Neighbourhood Investor – Digital Inclusion), we were looking for a way to give free Internet access to our tenants. I was tasked with finding a guest wireless solution that would be easy for tenants to use, with no intervention from the IT support team necessary for them to get online. I also wanted a solution that would overlay on our corporate systems. Purple WiFi offered me the perfect solution and I had the freedom to choose the hardware it operates on. I’ve been delighted with the service I have received from both Purple WiFi and Cisco Meraki.”

Gavin Wheeldon, CEO of Purple WiFi commented: “Social housing management companies are approaching us more and more, as things like Digital Inclusion and Universal Credit climb higher up on their agenda. In providing free guest WiFi housing groups and associations are answering a need for their tenants to be always connected which is becoming more and more important as governments move their services online. It’s also giving the people access to free WiFi in their community spaces, which is what they want and expect. Purple WiFi are also providing the Group with a level of reassurance, as we have family friendly content filtering in place and follow legal and security best practice.”

We also asked Craig Hill, Social Housing Account Manager at Cisco to comment on the partnership. Craig told us: ‘Housing associations are looking for low cost, easy to manage WiFi solutions so that they can get their tenants online quickly and provide them with digital services. Associations can now set up a low touch solution using Cisco Meraki cloud wireless. It’s incredibly easy to set up and run for the IT teams and comes with a simple dashboard.

The combination of Cisco Meraki and Purple WiFi is an incredibly competitive solution. It makes sense commercially, and makes Digital Inclusion a cost effective reality for housing associations.’

Plus Dane Group purchased the Purple WiFi license from Pennine Telecom and the Cisco Meraki hardware was purchased and implemented by Eison.