Central Edinburgh is to get free Wi-Fi and improved mobile phone coverage after the City of Edinburgh Council signed a deal for a new network in the city centre.
The council has signed a 10-year contract with public Wi-Fi specialists intechnologyWiFi to install and operate the free 24-hour high-speed internet connection at no cost to the council.
IntechnologyWiFi has been granted use of street furniture and council properties to locate the equipment needed to provide seamless internet coverage, which will be different from a wireless hotspot that usually provides connectivity in a small area.
Plans for the installation are still being finalised, with it set to be rolled out in a phased basis over the summer and autumn.
The programme has been funded by the UK Government as part of its SuperConnected Cities programme, which awarded more than £5m to Edinburgh.
Edinburgh is one of 22 UK cities to benefit from the UK Government’s £150m programme, managed by Broadband Delivery UK.
The announcement comes as recent online YouGov research found that 43 per cent of Britons are frustrated by a lack of free, public Wi-Fi networks and one in four said they would be more likely to stay longer in a town or city centre with access to free Wi-Fi.
Councillor Frank Ross, City of Edinburgh Council’s digital champion, said: “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 launch of the Wi-Fi network is the final project of the council’s Connected Capital programme, which aims to make Edinburgh one of the best connected cities in Britain.
All Edinburgh trams and Lothian Buses already have free Wi-Fi, as well as nearly 70 key public buildings.
The council’s broadband voucher scheme also provided over 970 businesses around Edinburgh with faster broadband connections.