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The GloucesterCityWIFI network forms one element of a larger 10-year deal between the council and BT, which was announced in June 2015. It includes the provision of an upgraded digital CCTV system to replace a network of ageing analogue surveillance cameras, and improved 4G coverage.
The network, which is free and unlimited to all users subject to a fair use policy, extends around the city centre from Westgate and Eastgate, along Northgate and Southgate, and Worcester Street towards the Kingsholm Stadium, where a number of Rugby World Cup matches are to be played.
Customers wanting to use the service will be able to discover and hook up to the network through their Wi-Fi settings. The Council has also funded street signs to let people know when they are in range.
“The launch of GloucesterCityWIFI is testament to the hard work of everyone involved to get everything up and running in time to welcome thousands of visitors to the city for the Rugby World Cup,” said Jennie Dallimore, Gloucester City Council cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods.
“Not only is this project fantastic news for local residents, but it will also benefit local businesses, students, shoppers and people visiting the city,” she added.
BT said it anticipated a scrum of users trying to access the network. Paul Coles, regional manager for Gloucestershire and the Southwest, said: “This is an exciting development for Gloucester at a time when the city will be in the Rugby World Cup spotlight. It will enable fans visiting the city centre to check scores and get other news as it breaks.
“GloucesterCityWIFI provides people with a reliable and secure way of staying in touch while they are working, studying, shopping or socialising in and around the city centre, while the latest CCTV technology will help to keep them safe.”
Gloucester’s first match kicks off midday on Saturday 19 September, between Tonga and Georgia. It will also host Scotland and Japan on 23 September.