FREE WIFI LIVE FOR FESTIVE CELEBRATIONS
The outdoor public WiFi service EdiFreeWiFi is now available, bringing free high-speed internet connectivity to Edinburgh city centre in time for the Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations.
In March this year the City of Edinburgh Council agreed to a 10-year concession contract with intechnologyWiFi to deliver WiFi coverage and improved mobile reception to the city centre.
The WiFi network has been made live to coincide with Edinburgh’s festive events, which will attract almost a million people. intechnologyWiFi is Official Communications Partner for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and has installed extra equipment for the festive season.
A map of the available coverage and FAQs about the EdiFreeWiFi service are available at www.edinburghfreewifi.com.
The WiFi network is central to the Council’s plans for growing the city economy and encouraging residents and visitors to stay longer and increase their spend. Users of the service will also benefit from savings to their mobile data plans by being able to access the outdoor internet at no cost and without restrictions on time.
YouGov research published earlier this year revealed that nearly (43%) of Britons are frustrated by the lack of free, public WiFi networks available across the UK, while one in four people (24%) would be more likely to stay longer in a town or city centre with access to free WiFi.
To this end, the outdoor WiFi network could drive greater footfall in Edinburgh’s city centre, supporting the high street and local economy, while making it easier for tourists to access information about the city’s retail and leisure attractions.
intechnologyWiFi has installed and will operate the outdoor WiFi network at no cost to the Council, and was granted exclusive use of the Council’s street furniture and properties to locate the state-of-the-art equipment required to provide seamless, easy-to-access internet coverage to users – distinct from the traditional hotspot model, which usually provides connectivity in a very small or specific area.
Councillor Frank Ross, Digital Champion, said: “It is great news as everyone will be able to get free outdoor access to the latest information on their favourite apps and websites while they are out and about over the festive season and beyond. It is also really important that we are providing this kind of quality service to the millions of residents and visitors who enjoy our city each year to ensure they have access to all the information they need.
“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.”
Natalie Duffield, Chief Executive of intechnologyWiFi, said: “The rolling out of free outdoor WiFi internet connectivity in the city centre represents an ambitious and exciting step forward for Edinburgh in meeting the demands of residents and tourists.
“Our team has been working hard to complete the installation of equipment and connections across this beautiful and historic World Heritage Site, allowing millions of people to enhance their experience of living, working and visiting in Edinburgh.
“We are delighted to be partnering with the City of Edinburgh Council and investing in this forward-looking project.”
UK Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said:”Our Super Connected Cities programme delivered a tremendous boost to connectivity to cities all around the UK, and Edinburgh is a brilliant example of this. The city’s free, time unlimited wifi offer that is a result of our programme is fantastic news for residents and tourists alike, and all part of our work on making sure Britain remains a digital world leader.”
The launch of the WiFi 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.
Residents and visitors to the city are already benefitting from free WiFi on all trams and Lothian Buses, as well as in just under 70 key public buildings. Additionally, the broadband voucher scheme (which is now closed) has provided over 970 businesses in the Edinburgh City Region with faster broadband connections, allowing businesses to be more productive and efficient.
The Connected Capital programme has been funded by the UK Government as part of its Super Connected Cities £150m programme, which has seen more than £5m awarded to Edinburgh. The outdoor wifi has received £176k of that funding in order to make lighting columns fit for use in the project and for access to third party buildings. Edinburgh was one of 22 cities to receive funding.