London borough offers use of street furniture in return for helping it to build ‘world-class digital infrastructure’
The London Borough of Bexley is looking for a commercial partner to provide free public WiFi as part of a drive to ensure the area has “world-class digital infrastructure”.
The borough council has issued a contract notice looking for potential suppliers to roll out technology to offer the public free wireless internet access “in the key commercial centres” of the borough. Bexley also wants “to enhance the cellular wireless infrastructure as widely as is commercially feasible across the borough”, and is seeking a supplier that can also help deliver a wholesale network for use by wireless service providers.
The chosen firm – who will benefit from “the right to use the council’s street furniture and property assets in the coverage area” – will also be tasked with improving the broadband choices of Bexley’s citizens and businesses by “encouraging fixed wireless access providers”, the council said.
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The contract notice indicated that Bexley will put as much as £2m into the project, and is looking for a supplier with which it can work for 15 years.
“The London Borough of Bexley seeks to have world-class digital infrastructure across the borough to drive economic development, social inclusion, and enhance the delivery of public services,” said the council.
Potential bidders have until 28 December to register their interest.
The borough is the second local authority this month to seek a commercial partner to install free public WiFi, in return for the use of street furniture. Earlier this month Worcester City Council published a contract notice looking for a provider willing to install – at their own expense – wireless connectivity points and footfall-monitoring software.