FREE wi-fi is now available in a city’s streets and public spaces in a Scottish first.
Residents and visitors in Glasgow will have free 24-hour access to the urban wireless network for the next eight years through a partnership between BT and the city council.
BT is delivering the wi-fi infrastructure, with wireless access points installed around high footfall areas and transport hubs in the city centre and parts of the east end, as well as in community centres.
The next phase of the city’s wireless network will be rolled out from early 2015, extending coverage more widely throughout the city.
Council leader Gordon Matheson said: “Today is a special day, when Glasgow becomes the first Scottish city to offer free wi-fi, further underlining our status as a place willing to use technology to bring social, educational and economic benefits to our residents and businesses.
“Anyone coming to the streets, public spaces and community centres covered by the first stage of this network will be able to take advantage of this innovative, fast and high-quality service.
“In particular, the availability of free wi-fi in 31 community centres across Glasgow means that we are now seen as a blueprint for other cities to follow.”
Delivery is based on a concession model, meaning access to the wireless network in the city comes through the lease of council-owned street furniture and property, with the authority providing a licence to allow a network operator to build a wireless network.
This means the council does not have to make any investment, with the network being designed, built and operated by the private sector.
Any subsequent support, maintenance, upgrading and monitoring will come at no cost to the council.
The BT contract is for eight years, with an option for the council to extend for another two.
BT Scotland Partnerships director James McClafferty said: “Thanks to BT’s Wireless Cities Programme, Glasgow will be the first city in Scotland to offer free urban wi-fi and we’re extremely proud of helping the city move to the very forefront of digital connectivity.
“BT has the UK’s largest wi-fi network with more than five million hotspots and we’ve an excellent track record of delivering large-scale, reliable communication services. The fact that Glasgow City Council trusts us to deliver a great service for the city centre is another fantastic endorsement for our people and their expertise.”
For free internet access, users should switch on wi-fi in their device settings. Users can then select GlasgowCC WiFi and go online.