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Southampton to introduce free wi-fi from lamp posts
STREETLIGHTS in Southampton will soon be able to provide free wireless Internet.
City bosses last night rubberstamped plans that will see residents and visitors alike benefiting from the innovative move, which will be rolled out in selected locations over the next six months.
This means people will be able to access websites relating to their travel or leisure plans, or shopping needs free of charge.
City leader Cllr Simon Letts said: “I’m delighted that Southampton is well on the way to becoming a leading digital city with residents and visitors soon able to have free access to the Internet in a range of locations.
“There are a great many potential social and economic benefits to the city in providing such a service, and it aligns with our priority to promote Southampton and attract investment.”
The project will start in the city centre, waterfront and key transport corridors, with the potential to extend coverage over time.
It is part of a deal between the city council and telecommunications firm Arqiva.
The deal will see Arqiva provide wi-fi coverage in high footfall areas of the city, such as the city centre and district centres.
The wi-fi will be free for the first 30 minutes each day, with a charge applying afterwards.
The scheme will be similar to schemes run in Swindon and Lincolnshire, and which Arqiva recently rolled out in Manchester city centre.
It comes at no cost to the council and will provide a small income. Under the agreement it will gain a 20 per cent share of gross revenue generated in Southampton by Arqiva each year. Work is expected to start on the scheme within the next three months.
The Cabinet has delegated authority to the council’s head of contract management to determine whether the contract should then be extended by an extra five years.
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