At the moment we have four main areas of work.

1. ICT in regeneration and economic development

The economic regeneration of deprived areas will depend to a very real extent on their ability to embrace the benefits of ICT. It's not just about ensuring residents are ICT literate, although increasingly that is a must have for most jobs. Economic regeneration depends on creating conditions in which existing and new businesses thrive. Today that means having a fast telecommunications network to allow companies to do business with each other and with their customers.

Regeneration programmes must also deliver on increasing social inclusion. This involves developing the social networks of vulnerable citizens as well as improving their access to public services and ionformation.

IS Communications can help you to :

Provide the best 'mix' of public and affordable home access to new technology

Develop on-line content that is interesting and useful to your neighbourhood

Build neighbourhood Intranets to enable individuals, businesses and agencies within those neighbourhoods to work together online

Develop projects that will enthuse 'hard to reach', excluded customers and develop their ICT skills

Carry out a fully costed feasibility study on how to build an affordable broadband telecommunications network that will support existing businesses and attract new businesses to locate in your area.

2. Bringing affordable broadband to communities

'Failure to ensure that citizens have access to a fast broadband telecommunications network and the complex data that flows up and down it, ensuring jobs as well as completed tax forms, will result in severe social exclusion for generations'. Putting IT into Practice : New Technology and the Modernising Agenda, Hellawell.S and Mulquin.M, I&DEA, LGA, IS Communications, 2000.

Broadband is the key to economic development. In the very near future, areas that do not have a fast telecommunications network simply will not be able to attract economic activity. Businesses will need broadband in order to compete in an electronic trading environment. The main problem at the moment is that broadband is expensive. IS Communications is working with Cisco and its partners to develop business models that will allow regeneration partnerships to build affordable broadband communications.

Michael Mulquin is currently looking at different models for bringing broadband to communities. The aim is to be able to identify which model is most cost effective and will work best for different sized communities.

3. Delivering e-Government

IS Communications researched and authored a report on e-government which set out the challenges and opportunities faced by local authorities in meeting electronic service delivery targets. The report looks at how some leading local authorities are using ICT to transform services. During the past year IS Communications has worked with local authorities to help them prepare Implementing Electronic Government (IEG) Statements. We have also spent a lot of time looking at how community websites can function as a 'trusted interface' for local authorities and other public agencies to deliver services electronically.

Our services include :

Community ICT audits

Telecommunications audits

Developing 'community interfaces' which will attract people who are not using local government websites to access local services electronically

e-Democracy - identifying ways in which people who are at the moment excluded from the decision making process, can begin to find an effective voice

4. Research and Seminars

We specialise in producing reports on ICT and social and economic issues which are digestible by a non-technical audience and provide clear recommendations for action. Samantha Hellawell researched and wrote the recent Fabian Society policy report Beyond Access : ICT and Social Inclusion, which set out a framework for getting excluded groups to use technology. It won the Jenny Jaeger Prize for the best Fabian publication in 2001/2.

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