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Glasgow becomes first Scottish city to offer free Wifi

Press Release   •   Jul 10, 2014 00:00 BST

Today (10 July 2014), Glasgow has become the first Scottish city to offer free BT Wi-fi in the city centre’s streets and public spaces.

This Urban Wireless network is being delivered through a partnership between Glasgow City Council and BT, and was launched today by Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, and James McClafferty, BT Scotland Partnership Director.

As of now, there will be free 24-hour access to the network for the duration of the contract, a minimum of eight years.

BT is delivering the Wi-fi infrastructure, with wireless access points installed around high footfall areas and transport hubs around the city centre and parts of the East End, as well as in the city’s community centres. The network is open to all wi-fi users.

Free Wi-fi improves people’s experience of living in, working in or visiting Glasgow by enabling them to have high-quality access, via smartphones and tablet computers, to the council’s online services, tourist and event information, job sites, and local businesses and services.

The Urban Wireless programme is part of the city council’s Digital Glasgow roadmap published in January 2014, which aims to place Glasgow as a world-leading digital city by 2017, supporting economic and social regeneration.

The Urban Wireless Concession will enable BT to deliver a variety of wireless technologies and enhance current and future wireless and mobile coverage within Glasgow, including 3G and 4G, through Small Cell technology.

The next phase of Glasgow’s wireless network will be rolled out from early 2015, extending coverage more widely throughout the city.

Glasgow’s City Wireless delivery is based on a concession model, meaning that access to the wireless network in the city comes through the lease of council-owned street furniture and property. The council provides a license to allow a network operator to build a wireless network by mounting its equipment on such property and street furniture.

This model, used by other major UK cities, means that the council does not have to make any investment, with the network being designed, built and operated by the private sector. Any subsequent support, maintenance, upgrading and monitoring will come at no cost to the council.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “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. 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 Scottish cities to follow.”

BT Scotland Partnerships Director James McClafferty said: “Thanks to BT’s Wireless Cities Programme, Glasgow will be the first city in Scotland to offer free urban wi-fi and we’re extremely proud of helping the city move to the very forefront of digital connectivity. BT has the UK's largest Wi-fi network with more than five million hotspots and we’ve an excellent track record of delivering large-scale, reliable communication services. The fact that Glasgow City Council trusts us to deliver a great service for the city centre is another fantastic endorsement for our people and their expertise.”

BT was awarded the contract earlier this year after participating in a competitive tender process. The contract is for eight years, with an option for the council to extend for another two.

For free internet access, users should simply switch on Wi-fi in their device settings. The device will search the airwaves and find which hotspots are in range and the strength of the signal. Users can then select GlasgowCC WiFi and go online.

For more information on the network, please contact Mitch Reid in the BT Scotland press office on 0800 085 0660 or mitchell.reid@bt.com.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  • Glasgow’s Digital Strategy has a common aim in support of social and digital inclusion; allowing all citizens of Glasgow to be confident online users; safely communicate, browse and transact online; participate as citizens online; and be able to influence decisions in their communities online.