Camden Council in London, UK will take a major step forward in enhancing digital services for residents through a new deal with Arqiva to deliver public Wi-Fi to streets and open spaces across the borough.
Camden has led a group of 17 Councils across London to secure deals that will provide a wireless network where residents, businesses and visitors will be able to access 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi services every day using registered devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets.
Once users have taken advantage of the 30 minutes of free time, they will have the opportunity to purchase extra time from the provider of their choice. Independent of the 30 free minutes, users of the service will be able to access Camden Council’s online services free of charge 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The contract with Arqiva provides substantial financial incentives for Camden and will help to deliver the objectives of the Camden Plan to make the borough a place where everyone has a chance to succeed and where nobody gets left behind. Income will be generated for the Council over the 10 year life of the contract will be used to support digital innovation in local firms and tackle digital exclusion.
The service will be rolled out across the borough from 1 June 2013 to the end of 2014, covering areas which will have the highest demand first. Phase one will target the South of Camden in areas of high footfall. The remaining phases will cover:
- Camden Town and Kentish Town
- Kilburn, Finchley, Hampstead and Belsize Park
Councillor Theo Blackwell, Cabinet member for Finance said: ‘Our aim is to make Camden one of the most connected places in the country. 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,’ said Blackwell.
Nicolas Ott, managing director, 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.
‘This project will involve the breadth of Arqiva’s connectivity solutions and will see the deployment of various wireless technologies, including Wi-Fi and 3G/4G/small cells. The first in a line of large-scale, outdoor urban networks, this contract reinforces Arqiva’s position as a key mobile connectivity partner,’ said Ott.
See also: Pennine Telecom launches UK’s first free community Wi-Fi network