Newcastle and Gateshead to become two of the hottest spots in the UK with public Wi-Fi set for 2015
Newcastle and Gateshead are set to join San Francisco, New York, Miami, Dubai and Paris in their ability to provide free Wi-Fi, after striking a deal with Spanish company Gowex to install services in scores of public areas.
Gowex, which has a track record for providing public Wi-Fi networks in cities around the world, was chosen by Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council after a rigorous selection procedure.The councils were assisted in making their choice of contractor by consultants Real Wireless.
Tyneside is the latest in a growing list of local authorities, using various providers, that are installing free Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas for their citizens and visitors.
Following installation, those who register with Gowex for the service will be able to connect to Wi-Fi on both sides of the River Tyne, at any time of the day or night. As a further benefit, people who sign up to access Wi-Fi in Newcastle and Gateshead will be able to connect free, using an app, in the other cities around the world where Gowex operates public wireless access.
Under the contract, Gowex will install a large number of connection hotspots, beginning this summer and finishing by the start of 2015. Leader of Newcastle City Council Nick Forbes said, “As superfast broadband rolls out across Newcastle, it will make a big difference to businesses and residents who sign up for it. But these days, it’s important for people to have access to broadband while they’re on the move too. This investment will put Newcastle and Gateshead in the forefront of UK areas for public Wi-Fi availability.”
The project, called Go Digital Newcastle, received funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) as part of a government scheme that will allow the City Council to bring superfast broadband to 97 percent of the city by summer, 2015. Small and medium businesses can apply for free vouchers worth up to £3,000 towards the cost of getting their businesses connected to superfast broadband.
Councillor Malcolm Graham, Gateshead Council’s Cabinet Member for Employment and Skills, commented, “Being able to connect quickly and easily to the internet is now such an integral part of business and personal life. This scheme, offering free Wi-Fi in key public areas, confirms our commitment to being at the forefront of the digital revolution.”
Government Communications Minister Ed Vaizey added, “With demand for Wi-Fi skyrocketing, this is tremendous news for Newcastle, one of our 22 Super-Connected cities. The funding that Government has made available to Newcastle will see free Wi-Fi spots pop up in public areas across the city, allowing everyone access to broadband while on the move, and is all part of the remarkable transformation of connectivity currently underway.”
Gowex’s chief executive for North Europe Philip Brown visited the North East to celebrate the contract at a ceremony held at the Millennium Bridge.