City's plan to bring digital revolution to the masses with free wi-fi network
Free wi-fi could be introduced for areas of Plymouth's city centre and waterfront.
Visitors, businesses and residents will be able to get online with ease while on the move through their mobile phones and tablets as part of the city's wider broadband strategy for high speed roll-out and digital inclusion.
Plymouth City Council's cabinet is being asked to give the go-ahead next week to a concession contract which will open the doors to free wi-fi as early as next spring. The move will enable thousands more people to tap into the wealth of information on the web to help them get around the city, eat, drink and shop as well as enjoy activities.
Council leader Tudor Evans said: "We're very excited about this idea as it will be a great communication tool for everyone. It has enormous potential to give people instant access to the information they want – whether they are a visitor or a local."
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Details of how, where and for how long people will be able to use the network will be finalised in the coming months, but it is expected to be available to anyone following a simple one-off log in. People will then be taken automatically to a landing page which will provide search facilities and links to key useful sites for visitors, citizens and businesses.
Mr Evans said: "We know this is what many people want and are beginning to expect. Visitors will arrive in the city, click on to the page and see what's on and where to go.
"If we want to increase the number of tourists coming here, we need to be more savvy. We can also keep our residents more in the loop with what we are doing. Those most in need, without internet access will now have at least a basic level of access to the internet revolution."
David Parlby, chief executive of Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, said the project, which will not cost the council tax-payer, "shows that we are modern and forward-looking – it sends out all the right messages for potential investors as well as visitors".