Summertime and the Wi-Fi is speedy

The Council has been asked to approve the award of a 10 year contract to bring free high-speed Wi-Fi to Edinburgh this summer.

If approved world leading Wi-Fi provider GOWEX will be appointed to roll out and operate the network.

The concession contract, which will be considered by the Council’s Finance and Resources Committee next Thursday (20 March), will see Edinburgh join other world famous destinations including New York, San Francisco, Barcelona, and Paris in providing free Wi-Fi through working in partnership with GOWEX.

Free megabyte Wi-Fi will be available 24/7 in the city centre and town centres of Edinburgh. Everyone will be able to access the latest information on their favourite apps and websites while out and about from any Wi-Fi enabled device.

The network is central to the Council’s plans for growing the city economy, delivering more services online to residents and attracting visitors to stay longer and increase their spend.

Councillor Frank Ross, Economy Convener, said: “This is a fantastic result for Edinburgh – it’s a great service for city residents, adds clout to the visitor experience and pays its own way. As a Council we’re proud of the international companies that want to work with us to bring the best to the City. The GOWEX commitment to our town centres is especially exciting. It means safe, secure and free access at all times to WiFi the equal of New York, Paris and Madrid not just in the city centre but for great places such as Portobello, Stockbridge and Corstorphine.”

Jenaro García, CEO at GOWEX, said:
“GOWEX is very pleased to have been selected by City of Edinburgh Council. We intend to make Edinburgh a showcase Wireless Smart City in the UK, a strategic market for GOWEX. We’re looking forward to forging strong and lasting partnerships in the coming years and bringing the benefits of our Wireless Smart Cities®experience in over 84 major cities worldwide to the city of Edinburgh.”

GOWEX will be installing the wireless network equipment with the first phase in the city centre to be delivered ready for the start of this year’s summer festivals.

Ken Hay, Chair of Festivals Edinburgh, said: “The Edinburgh Festivals know that the increasing use of mobile devices by residents and visitors in any city means that easy access to wi-fi is now a basic expectation. The news that Edinburgh is making wi-fi freely available to visitors and residents in time for the August Festivals is tremendous. This new service will not only boost access to the shows and information we provide, but also allow visitors to fully share their own unique experiences on social media, enhancing the profile of Edinburgh around the globe as a must-see destination.”

Further expansion into town centres will be completed by the end of the year. The Council and GOWEX are keen to explore how the network can be expanded in the coming years.

The creation of the wireless network is one project in the Connected Capital Programme which aims to make Edinburgh one of the best connected cities in Britain. Other projects in progress include free Wi-Fi on trams, Lothian Buses and in key public buildings. A voucher scheme providing capital funding of up to £3,000 enabling small businesses and charities to upgrade their broadband connection speeds is already available.

Edinburgh is one of 22 cities across the UK benefiting from Government’s Super Connected Cities £150m Programme which is being delivered through Broadband Delivery UK.

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