Herefordshire Housing has pledged to provide all its tenants with free broadband within five years.

The housing association, that has around 5,500 homes, has teamed up with Whitestone-based Allpay to provide the ambitious scheme.

While Allpay’s background is in social housing payment systems and it has breached out to broadband and recently created Herefordshire's Ofcom-approved broadband network using church steeples as transmitters.

Working together Allpay and Herefordshire Housing are trialling free broadband at speeds of up to 10Mb at three sheltered housing schemes, starting at Innesfield in Clehonger followed by Southgate in Ross Road, Hereford, and Bryngwyn Court, off Barrs Court Road.

“Broadband is increasingly becoming the fourth utility and we want as many of our tenants as possible to benefit from having high speed internet access in their home,” said Herefordshire Housing chief executive Peter Brown.

“Access to the internet can change people’s lives.”