The first 20 wi-fi hotspots in Nottingham city centre, announced earlier this year as part of a partnership between the city council and BT, are being switched on this week.
It means anyone with a smartphone, tablet or laptop can get online for free in some of the city’s most popular areas for tourism, shopping and leisure.
More hotspots are still to be added but when complete, the wi-fi network will cover areas in and around the Market Square, the Lace Market, as well as key pedestrian routes between the Victoria shopping centre and the railway station.
Councillor Nick McDonald, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Jobs, Growth and Transport, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to team up with BT to offer free and unlimited wi-fi to people while they’re out and about in Nottingham city centre.
“The free wi-fi will come at no cost to the council or taxpayers and in return, BT will get access to some of our lamp posts and other street furniture, allowing the company to install new mobile infrastructure.
“In fact, this has the potential to be saving people money because now they will be able to browse the internet, check emails and keep in contact across social media without the need to use up their data allowance.”
Owen Moody, BT East Midlands regional director, said: “We’re delighted to be switching on the first part of the new wi-fi network. A great deal of work has taken place with the City Council to make this happen and I’m sure it will prove to be popular.
“More and more people are using technology to stay in touch when on the move, and this network will make that a lot easier for visitors to the city as well as those living and working here.”
When work is completed, the new network will have 41 BT Wi-fi hotspots throughout the city centre, making free and unlimited wi-fi available to more than 310,000 residents, hundreds of businesses and the 10.7 million people who visit the city in a typical year.
People within range of the network will be able to tap into free wi-fi following a simple on-off log in. They will then be taken automatically to a landing page which will have links to key useful sites for visitors, residents and businesses.
Instructions on how to log on will be found on lamp posts throughout the wi-fi zone shortly.
Work is taking place in two phases with around half of the city centre network going live in August. The second phase will be switched on in October.
BT has the UK’s largest wi-fi network with over 5 million hotspots, and has already introduced wi-fi into a number of UK city centres including Cardiff, Carlisle, Glasgow and Plymouth with more in the pipeline.
For more information please visit www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk.