Free WiFi to be rolled-out across Edinburgh city centre
The City of Edinburgh Council has signed a 10-year contract with intechnologySmartCities to deliver free WiFi coverage to Edinburgh city centre, providing residents and visitors with access to free, high-speed internet, 24/7. Edinburgh is the UK’s second most-visited city after London, attracting millions to its historic and cultural centre each year through its world-renowned summer festivals.
intechnologySmartCities, which recently agreed a major deal with The Football League to provide stadium WiFi connectivity and mobile applications to clubs across its portfolio is installing and operating the WiFi network at no cost to the council. Users of the service will benefit from savings to their mobile data plans by being able to access the internet at no cost while on the go, without restrictions on time.
Ed Vaizey, the UK Digital Economy Minister, commented, “I’m delighted that Edinburgh have delivered another element of the UK’s Superconnected Cities as part of the Government programme. It’s vital that our cities have the digital infrastructure in place to deal with the demands of the digital age. Our investment in the Edinburgh Wireless Concession will deliver a welcome boost to the local economy, and provide an extremely useful facility for residents and visitors alike.”
It is hoped the Edinburgh WiFi network could drive greater footfall in the city centre, supporting the high street and local economy, while making it easier for tourists to access city information (attractions, places to eat, directions, etc.) online. Crucially, the WiFi network will also provide a robust connectivity backbone within the city for the future, primed for the growing ‘smart city’ and Internet of Things (IoT) industries.
intechnologyWiFi has been granted exclusive use of the council’s street furniture and properties to locate the state-of-the-art equipment required to provide seamless, easy-to-access coverage to users – distinct from traditional ‘hotspot’ networks, which usually provides connectivity in a very small or specific area. According to YouGov, a third (32%) of people who have used a traditional WiFi hotspot in the past said they have been dissatisfied, with 83% citing the quality of the service – such as slow speeds and limited coverage – as to why.
Plans for the installation are being finalised, with the WiFi network set to be rolled-out in a phased basis over summer and autumn. A map of the planned coverage area and FAQs about the service can be found at www.edinburghfreewifi.com.
The contract was awarded to intechnologySmartCities as part of the council’s Connected Capital Programme, which aims to make Edinburgh one of the best-connected cities in Britain. Edinburgh is one of 22 cities across the UK that has benefitted from the UK Government’s £150m Superconnected Cities Programme, managed by Broadband Delivery UK.
Councillor Frank Ross, Digital Champion, commented, “This is great news as everyone will be able to get free access to the latest information on their favourite apps and websites while they are out and about. It will be particularly beneficial for the millions of residents and visitors who enjoy our festivals each year. This project is central to the council’s plans for growing the city economy, and encouraging residents and visitors to stay longer and increase their spend.”
The awarding of the contract represents a bold step forward for Edinburgh in meeting the demands of its residents and visitors for “always on” connectivity.
In providing 24/7 internet connectivity to residents and visitors out and about, our network solution will make it second-nature for people in the city to live more connected lives, including accessing live news as it breaks, finding out what’s on in real-time, or booking a meal or a bed for the night using the latest offers and promotions available.
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