Planning permission has now been given for wi-fi transmitters to be installed on lamp posts as part of the roll-out of free BT Wi-fi in Plymouth.
Engineers will begin installing transmitters on lamp posts and buildings in preparation for a free wi-fi network going live this Spring across a wider area of the city centre as well as the waterfront.
The West End, as well as the area around the Sundial, is already connected as part of the first phase of the scheme, with four telephone kiosks fitted with wi-fi technology. Visitors, businesses and residents can already get online, on the go through their mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
Now the network is being spread wider covering the waterfront from the Barbican to West Hoe, as well as along Royal Parade and the wider city centre pedestrian areas.
Plymouth is one of a small number of cities in the UK to have an outdoor wi-fi network, thanks to an innovative concession agreement w ith BT. It has cost the tax-payer nothing and in return for use of council lamp posts, BT provide the free network.
Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “We are getting even more connected! Visitors and people enjoying our incredible waterfront will be able to tap into the wealth of information online about where to go, what to do, places to eat and drink.
“It’s great for the city, great for visitors and great for business.”
Paul Coles, BT South West regional manager, said: “This is another important step forward for a project, which will make a big contribution to the connectivity of Plymouth. We are on track for a major network of free BT Wi-fi hotspots to be up and running across the city in the Spring. First class mobile communications, such as free wi-fi, will play a vital role in the future success and prosperity of Plymouth.”
The ID of the network is Plymouthwifi. Users are taken automatically to a landing page which links to key useful sites for visitors, residents and businesses. It is also a way of staying better connected with residents and hopefully will encourage those who are a little bit more wary of digital technology to give it a go.
Plymouth is getting ahead in terms of technology and is in the top ten for city superfast broadband connections; which is great for businesses based here.
Key partners in the city are doing all they can to ensure residents are familiar with the technology as it is increasingly a requirement for employment as well as access to services and information.
The Council is working with BT, Plymouth Community Homes, the Plymouth Health Community and Jobcentre Plus to fund a programme run by Citizens Online called Get IT Together. It provides friendly, informal sessions for beginners to help with basic keyboard and mouse skills; emails; searching the internet and using it to find a job.
Over 1,800 learners attended an IT course last year at a wide number of venues ranging from the Plymouth Advice Centre for Employment, North Prospect Community Learning, libraries, Salvation Army, PCH and Plymouth Citizens’ Advice Bureau.