Camden Council rolls out free Wi-Fi

Camden London Borough Council signs a deal with Arqiva to provide free wireless connectivity to businesses, residents and visitors

Camden London Borough Council has signed a deal with Arqiva to provide Wi-Fi to businesses, residents and visitors.

Arqiva will start installing the Wi-Fi infrastructure from 1 June 2013.

Initially the wireless connectivity will only be available in the south of the borough where there is greater footfall – for example, around Kings Cross and St Pancras train stations. 

However, by its completion in 2014, Camden Town, Kentish Town, Kilburn, Finchley, Hampstead and Belsize Park will all have access to the network.

“Our aim is to make Camden one of the most connected places in the country,” said councillor Theo Blackwell, cabinet member for finance at Camden Council. “This is great news for residents who will be able to access Wi-Fi services in public and open spaces.

"It will also be a huge benefit to businesses who will be able to trial new advertising techniques to better target their customers.

“Our large number of visitors and tourists will benefit from being able to access online information about events nearby and find information to visit local shops, bars and restaurants.”

The Wi-Fi will be free to all users for the first 30 minutes, but vouchers will have to be purchased to stay online for longer. Camden Council said it will use any money raised from the service to invest in digital innovation in local firms and to help the "digitally excluded" to get online.

Residents wishing to use online services from the council will be able to access them free at the point of delivery.

Arqiva will use a number of wireless technologies – including 3G and 4G networks and small cells – to keep the borough connected over the 10-year contract period.

Nicolas Ott, managing director of government, mobile and enterprise at Arqiva, said: “We are delighted to be working with Camden Borough Council. Our partnership means that Camden’s 212,000 residents, businesses and visitors will benefit from the fast, reliable and ‘always-on’ connectivity which we all have come to expect, wherever we are.”

Camden Council's executive claimed this was the first of a number of large-scale, outdoor urban networks it was working on. The council revealed it was leading a group of 17 boroughs in planning a number of other network projects.

Yesterday, the department for media, culture and sport (DCMS) confirmed Arqiva had been selected for the Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) which will see the firm roll out technologies to boost mobile signal in rural and areas with no wireless connectivity. The contract, which received state aid funding approval from the European Commission (EC) in December, is worth £150m.

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