Glasgow To Offer Free City Wi-Fi For 2014 Commonwealth Games

BT agrees deal with Glasgow City Council to build Wi-Fi network

Residents and tourists in Glasgow are set to benefit from a free Wi-Fi network in time for this summer’s Commonwealth Games after it agreed a deal with BT to build a wireless network in the city’s streets and public spaces.

Glasgow will adopt a similar model to one employed in other UK cities such as Cardiff, where a private company (in this case BT) is granted a license to use the city’s street furniture, such as lampposts and buildings, in exchange for constructing the network. The cost for any future upgrades or maintenance will be met by the council.

Free Glasgow Wi-Fi

Glasgow PanoramaThe network forms the first part of Glasgow’s Urban Wireless Programme (UWP) and will see between 50 and 80 wireless access points installed in busy areas and transport hubs in the city centre and West End. The next phase will see the network rolled out to other parts of the city in early 2015. Access will be free for the first six months, after which residents and tourists will be able to use the service without charge for 30 minutes every day, with access to some sites, such as Glasgow City Council’s website, accessible at any time.

BT will be able to use its license to improve Wi-Fi and mobile coverage in the city by deploying 3G, 4G and small cell technology, which could potentially be sold wholesale to mobile operators if the deal is similar to the one agreed in Cardiff. The firm’s contract lasts for eight years, but the council has the option to extend this by another two.

“Delivering a free Wi-Fi network is a key priority of the council and we are delighted to award the Urban Wireless supplier concession to BT,” says Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council. “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.”

Glasgow hopes the network will allow it to fulfil its Digital Glasgow roadmap, which aims to establish itself as a world-leading digital city by 2017 to promote the economic and social regeneration of the area.

Last year, the city fended off competition from 30 other urban areas in the UK to be named by the Technology Strategy Board as its ‘Future Cities Deminstrator’, receiving £24 million to show how providing integrated services across health, transport, energy and public safety can improve the local economy and enhance the quality of life for citizens.

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