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Free Leicester Wi-Fi Network Can Boost 4G Coverage

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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BT will use CCTV infrastructure to build a free Wi-Fi network that will also allow operators to boost city centre mobile coverage

BT is to build and manage a Wi-Fi network in Leicester city centre using the council’s CCTV system, offering visitors and residents free Wi-Fi in busy areas and providing infrastructure for mobile operators to boost coverage.

Free Wi-Fi will be available in the central part of the city, encompassing areas like the Clock Tower and Jubilee Square, and BT is currently planning and surveying for the best locations for wireless access points.

The network will not cost the council anything, as BT will be able to expand its nationwide footprint of hotspots and be able to offer mobile operators the ability to deploy equipment like small cells to boost 4G.

BT Wi-Fi Leicester

Leicester_CathedralThis mirrors deals BT has in other cities, including Cardiff. In addition to building the network, BT will manage it for a ten year period.

“Connecting people is at the heart of what we do and a great deal of work has already taken place with the city council,” said Owen Moody, BT’s regional manager. “Being able to use technology on the move is more important than ever and we’re confident the new Wi-Fi network will make a big difference to people in Leicester.

Leicester City Council also hopes visitors will use the added connectivity to find out more about the city’s heritage. Tourists can scan QR codes on boards around the city and download an application.

“We already have free Wi-Fi in our libraries and we know how popular Wi-Fi hotspots in city centre coffee shops and other venues are,” said Rory Palmer, Deputy City Mayor. “We’d like to be able to extend this offer so that people can get online even more easily.

“Free Wi-Fi will also support our plans to promote economic growth in the city and is now seen as essential infrastructure for a modern connected city.”

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