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Tuesday November 28th 2017

Free WiFi is on its way to the Outdoor City

Sheffield City Council and Sheffield based Idaq Networks Ltd have announced a 10-year deal that will see Idaq provide free of charge high-speed WiFi internet access in the outdoor areas and public buildings of Sheffield city centre.

The service, which will be known as Sheffield Free WiFi, will help the Council meet its ambition to be one of the best-connected cities in the country and help make the city centre more vibrant.

Idaq will provide the WiFi service by installing superfast and ultrafast broadband equipment to council-owned street lights and street furniture.

The network will be available free of charge to help innovative digital projects get off the ground, such as those led by the Sheffield Universities and Sheffield Digital.

Idaq will also use the network to provide a range of exciting cutting edge ultrafast broadband products and services to the residents and businesses of Sheffield city centre.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment at Sheffield City Council, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we are working with a Sheffield company to provide one of the best public access WiFi services in the country.

“The network will make the city centre a more attractive place to spend time visiting and shopping. It will also provide free of charge internet access to those who may not be able to afford it.

“The network also offers exciting opportunities for developing new and innovative products and services in Sheffield, by local organisations.”

Councillor Olivia Blake, deputy leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “This announcement will help Sheffield to fulfil its digital ambitions. We are already the city with the most rapidly growing digital sector and now we are on the verge of having a free city WiFi package that will benefit businesses, visitors and residents alike.”

The implementation of free, public-access WiFi is also central to Sheffield BID’s plans for encouraging visitors, residents and employees to spend more time here in the city centre.  BID Manager Diane Jarvis said: “We believe that free WiFi will drive greater footfall, supporting the high street and the local economy, and at the same time make it easier for visitors to access information about the city centre, such as retail and leisure attractions.

“The BID has lobbied for increased connectivity standards for Sheffield city centre for some time now and its fantastic news that the Council has now awarded a contract to make free WiFi a reality.”

Mark Roebuck, Director of Idaq Networks Ltd, said: “Everyone at Idaq Networks is very excited to be involved in this project. We are a local company and we have already invested heavily in Sheffield developing a commercial network providing high speed internet access to local businesses.

“Apart from the obvious benefits to our company this project will enable us to bring free internet access to everyone living in, working in and visiting the City centre in a very short period of time. The project will also allow us to help the Universities, innovative individuals and business start-ups with the development of new technologies and products.”

Key Features of the Network

  • The network will provide blanket coverage within the majority of the Business Improvement District.
  • The network will be rolled out in stages, the first stage will be live by May 2018 and the remaining stages by November 2018.
  • The WiFi service will offer download speeds of 20Mbps and upload speeds of 4Mbps.
  • There is no net cost to Sheffield City Council for the network.
  • The WiFi Services is free of charge to the user.
  • The WiFi service provides a high-quality customer experience for access, registration and use.
  • The WiFi service provides a family friendly experience with internet filtering to prevent access to inappropriate content;
  • The WiFi network will provide reliable, high quality performance on initial deployment and will be maintained throughout the 10 years to ensure it keeps pace with the latest developments in technology.
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