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Free Wi-fi set to be introduced in Leicester City Centre

Press Release   •   Feb 08, 2016 09:43 GMT

BT is joining forces with Leicester City Council to provide free wi-fi across some of the most popular areas of the city centre.

A free wi-fi zone will be established in the central part of the city, including the Clock Tower, Jubilee Square and outside the Richard III centre on St Martins.

The idea is to promote wider digital access and help people to find out more about Leicester.

Planning and survey work is already underway across the city to identify the best locations for the wireless access points.

The free wi-fi, which won't cost the city council anything, should be available this Spring.

Deputy City Mayor, Cllr Rory Palmer, said: “We already have free wi-fi in our libraries and we know how popular wi-fi hotspots in city centre coffee shops and other venues are. We’d like to be able to extend this offer so that people can get online even more easily.

“Free wi-fi will also support our plans to promote economic growth in the city as well as being an essential infrastructure for a modern connected city.”

Access to the Leicester City Council wi-fi service will be free and unlimited to all. The new network will form part of around five million BT hotspots across the UK.

It’s also hoped this landmark deal, using the existing CCTV network to deliver wi-fi, will also attract improved mobile phone coverage as mobile operators will be able to deploy 4G technology in the city centre more easily.

Owen Moody, BT's regional manager for the East Midlands, said: "Connecting people is at the heart of what we do and a great deal of work has already taken place with the city council. Being able to use technology on the move is more important than ever and we’re confident the new wi-fi network will make a big difference to people in Leicester.”

Visitors to the city centre can already use their smartphones to scan QR codes on information boards around the city. The codes link to web pages, which give more information on Leicester’s history and heritage.

There is also an interactive heritage app available at Leicester Castle.

Leicester City Council chose BT to build and manage the free wi-fi network for 10 years.

BT has already introduced wi-fi into a number of city centres across the UK, including Cardiff, Gloucester, Glasgow, Nottingham and Newcastle.

Brian Jackson, head of sales for BT Redcare Surveillance, said: “Most UK towns and cities have invested in CCTV and video surveillance with cameras in places where lots of people pass. So it’s ideal for supporting a public wi-fi network.

“Our approach is simple, but effective — we’ll help customers’ get the most out of their existing CCTV systems, overlay a public wi-fi network and provide the capability for improved mobile services. All building towards a Smarter City.”

For more information and the latest updates please visit www.leicester.gov.uk.