A free wifi network is being created in the heart of Brighton and Hove with BT (British Telecom) working together with the council on the project.
The council said that 30 of the 40 wifi hotspots were already live in areas popular with shoppers and tourists. The final 10 are due to be switched on within months.
The “BrightonHovefreewifi” network will not only be free to residents, businesses and visitors but it won’t cost the council a penny either.
The council said: “Brighton and Hove City Council and BT have joined forces to make free wifi available at a range of locations across the city centre.
“The new outdoor network will cover the busiest areas for tourism, shopping and leisure, providing free wifi for local residents, hundreds of businesses and the 11.5 million people who visit the city each year.
“A total of 40 BT wifi hotspots will be available on completion of the project, allowing visitors and residents to get online while ‘on the go’ through their smart phones, tablets and laptops.
“Thirty of the wifi access points are now live, with the remaining ten due to be switched on later in the summer.
“The ‘BrightonHovefreewifi’ network will come at no cost to the council. In return, BT will get access to some of the city’s lamp posts and other street furniture, allowing the company to install new mobile infrastructure.”
The council said that the free wifi would cover much of the centre of Brighton. People should be able to use it in parts of Western Road, Queen’s Road, West Street, the North Laine, London Road and St James’s Street.
It will cover the seafront between the Palace Pier and the Hilton Brighton Metropole hotel. And there will be hotspots in front of Hove Town Hall in Church Road and at the top of George Street in Hove.
The council said: “People within range of the network will be able to tap into free wifi following a simple on-off log in.
“They will then be taken automatically to a landing page with links to the council website and VisitBrighton.com, the city’s main resource for visitor information.
“The council has chosen BT to build and manage the network for ten years. Access to the Brighton and Hove wifi service will be free and unlimited to all.
“The new service is part of the more than five million BT wifi hotspots already operating in locations across the UK including major cities such as Cardiff, Carlisle, Glasgow and Plymouth.”
Councillor Caroline Penn, the city council’s lead member for ICT (information and communications technology), said: “BT already operates the largest wifi network in the UK and it is great news that even more people will be able to use the technology thanks to this collaborative project.
“The scheme will mean free and unlimited wifi for everyone when they’re out and about in the city centre within range of one of the new hubs.
“This builds on other work the council is doing to encourage more people to get online, including free wifi in public buildings and computer courses and training sessions in our libraries.”
BT’s director of wifi and devices Erik Raphael said: “The project makes Brighton and Hove the first city centre in the south east to have a free BT wifi network and will make a big contribution to the connectivity of the city.
“Knowing Brighton and Hove’s reputation as a vibrant digital hub, I’m sure the new network will prove to be very popular and extremely well used.”
For more information, visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/bhfreewifi.