Free Glasgow Wi-Fi Network Goes Live

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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Free Glasgow Wi-Fi to benefit spectators at the Commonwealth Games this summer

A free public Wi-Fi network in Glasgow has gone live, offering residents and visitors free wireless connectivity in some the busiest parts of the city ahead of the Commonwealth Games, which start later this month.

The first phase of the BT-constructed network has seen access points installed in areas of high footfall, transport hubs, community centres and parts of the east end. The next phase will be rolled out from early next year, extending coverage throughout the city.

The model employed by Glasgow is similar to one used 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 lamp-posts 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 PanoramaBT will be free to offer the network on a wholesale basis to operators who could use the infrastructure to enhance their cellular services in areas of high demand.

The network forms part of Glasgow City Council’s Digital Glasgow roadmap, which aims to establish Glasgow as a world-leading digital city by 2017, supporting economic and social regeneration. The council claims the new Wi-Fi network will offer vital council and tourist information and services, while improving the quality of living or working in Glasgow.

“Today is a special day, when Glasgow becomes the first Scottish city to offer free Wi-Fi, further underlining our status as a place willing to use technology to bring social, educational and economic benefits to our residents and businesses,” says Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council.

“Anyone coming to the streets, public spaces and community centres covered by the first stage of this network will be able to take advantage of this innovative, fast and high-quality service. In particular, the availability of free Wi-Fi in 31 community centres across Glasgow means that we are now seen as a blueprint for other cities to follow.”

Spectators at the Commonwealth Games will also be able to benefit from Wi-Fi at stations and on trains serving games venues, following an investment from Transport Scotland.

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