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Residents of the city of Brighton and Hove are getting access to a city-centre Wi-Fi network, set up by the city council with support from BT.
The network will comprise 40 Wi-Fi hotspots – thirty of which are already live, with the remainder set to come online over the summer.
It will cover the busiest parts of the city centre for shopping and leisure, including the seafront around Brighton Pier, North Laine, Queen’s Road, St James’ Street and West Street and Western Road in the city centre, as well as parts of Hove and London Road, to the north of the city.
“BT already operates the largest Wi-Fi 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,” said Brighton and Hove City Council lead for ICT, Caroline Penn.
"The scheme will mean free and unlimited Wi-Fi for everyone when they’re out and about in the city centre in 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 Wi-Fi in public buildings and computer courses and training sessions in our libraries.”
BT has agreed to make the "BrightonHovefreewifi" network available at no cost to the council, in return for which it gets access to lamp posts and other items of street furniture to install mobile infrastructure over a 10-year period.
Residents and the city’s 11.5 million annual tourist visitors alike will be able to log on to the network for free, with unlimited access, the same as other city centre Wi-Fi networks owned and managed by BT in places such as Cardiff, Glasgow and Plymouth. The telecoms operator already has five million hotspots around the UK, and has recently added services in a number of towns and cities.
Erik Raphael, director for BT devices and BT Wi-fi, said: “The project makes Brighton and Hove the first city centre in the south east to have a free BT Wi-fi 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.”
Earlier in April 2016, fibre altnet Hyperoptic switched on a gigabit broadband service in Brighton and Hove, offering download speeds many times faster than what is generally available in the city.
Hyperoptic works extensively with property developers to build in fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband in new-build developments, and is targeting a thousand customers in Brighton and Hove by the end of the year.