DCSIMG

Glasgow claims first with free public wifi

High footfall areas such as  Buchanan Street will benefit from the city's wifi service. Picture: Robert Perry

High footfall areas such as Buchanan Street will benefit from the city's wifi service. Picture: Robert Perry

  • by ANGUS HOWARTH
 

FREE public wifi will be available in Glasgow’s streets and public spaces after its council awarded a wireless concession to BT in what it says is a Scottish first.

The infrastructure, with 50 to 80 access points, will be installed in high footfall areas and transport hubs around the city centre and parts of the east end.

The first phase coincides with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. A second phase will be rolled out citywide in early 2015.

There will be free 24-hour access to the network for the first six months and after that there will be free access for 30 minutes per day per handset.

Access to some sites, including Glasgow City Council’s website will remain free.

Gordon Matheson, leader of the council, said: “Glaswegians and our visitors will soon be able to access multimedia information on the city, its events, businesses and services on their devices.

“This network will play a key role in Glasgow’s transition to becoming a digitally connected, smart city, with all the economic and social benefits that brings.”

The BT contract is for eight years with an option to extend for another two.

The urban wireless programme is part of the city council’s Digital Glasgow roadmap published last month, which aims to place Glasgow as a world-leading digital city by 2017, supporting economic and social regeneration.

Glasgow’s city wireless delivery is based on a concession model, meaning that access to the wireless network comes through the lease of council-owned street furniture and property, with the council providing a licence to allow a network operator to build a wireless network.

This model means that the council does not have to make any investment, with the network being designed, built and operated by the private sector.

 

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