Edinburgh Trams And Buses To Offer Free Wi-Fi

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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Government super-connected cities scheme gets scaled down to free Wi-Fi for Edinburgh transport

Trams and bus passengers in Edinburgh could soon benefit from free Wi-Fi as part of the city council’s plan to improve connectivity and tempt tourists to the Scottish Capital.

According to The Scotsman, Lothian Buses will install mobile routers on all 713 buses in its fleet and on the 27 vehicles on the £1 billion Edinburgh tram network which is due to open in May.

A tender last month states that the connection would have to be strong enough to support 80 passengers on each bus and 240 trams and says that 4G connectivity would be essential given the anticipated growth in demand for mobile data.

Edinburgh Trams

edinburgh trams depotLothian Buses, which is owned by three local councils, currently only offers Wi-Fi on its services between the city centre and Edinburgh airport but the scheme to offer Internet on all its lines is believed to be the first in the UK.

The bill for the £2 million project will be footed by the government as part of its Super Connected Cities scheme. Edinburgh had hoped to build a fixed line fibre network in the western part of the city, which TechWeekEurope understands is not covered by BT’s commercial fibre rollout, but this plan was abandoned following competition concerns.

Instead, the city council proposed a £10.7 million scheme of vouchers and free Wi-Fi which will see wireless Internet services available in buses, trains and public spaces such as museums and galleries.

The Scottish government has also made moves to improve the country’s digital infrastructure, paying £2 million to train operator ScotRail to install free Wi-Fi services on its express trains.

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