EDINBURGH city centre could have free open-air WiFi as early as this summer if the council approve a proposed contract next week.
The plan would see the wireless network provide free megabyte access to any enabled device 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Spanish company GOWEX would provide and operate the network, with the council’s Finance and Resources committee considering the 10 year contract next Thursday.
If approved, the network would form a central part of the council’s plans to continue growth of Edinburgh’s economy. They believe that having free WiFi in places like Leith, Gorgie and Morningside will attract visitors to stay longer and spend more.
Councillor Frank Ross, Economy Convener, said: “This is a fantastic result for Edinburgh – it’s a great service for city residents, adds clout to the visitor experience and pays its own way. As a Council we’re proud of the international companies that want to work with us to bring the best to the City.
“The GOWEX commitment to our town centres is especially exciting. It means safe, secure and free access at all times to WiFi the equal of New York, Paris and Madrid not just in the city centre but for great places such as Portobello, Stockbridge and Corstorphine.”
If the plans go ahead, GOWEX’s first phase plans are to install the wireless network equipment in the city centre and be up and running for the start of the summer’s festivals.
Having wi-fi access could prove to be an integral part of visitor experience and organisers are certain that, if approved, the plans will contribute to yet another year of success.
Ken Hay, Chair of Festivals Edinburgh, said: “The Edinburgh Festivals know that the increasing use of mobile devices by residents and visitors in any city means that easy access to WiFi is now a basic expectation.
“The news that Edinburgh is making WiFi freely available to visitors and residents in time for the August Festivals is tremendous. This new service will not only boost access to the shows and information we provide, but also allow visitors to fully share their own unique experiences on social media, enhancing the profile of Edinburgh around the globe as a must-see destination.”
Edinburgh is one of 22 cities across the UK benefiting from Government’s Super Connected Cities £150m Programme which is being delivered through Broadband Delivery UK.