Residents and tourists in Manchester are set to have free access to Wi-Fi in January on all Metrolink carriages, as a part of a £1.7m project between networking firm Icomera and the city council.
Icomera is installing internet connectivity on all 94 trams and 20 metroshuttle bus services across the Metrolink network, as part of the council’s strategy to become a top 20 worldwide digital city by 2020.
The project, set to be completed by the spring, is being funded by Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM) along with Manchester and Salford town halls and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK project
Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the TfGM Committee, said: "We live in a digital age and people want to make the best use of their travelling time – quick and simple access to digital technology is key to this."
"Greater Manchester is leading the way in the growing provision of wi-fi services on public transport, which in turn takes us one step close to our aim of being a top 20 digital city region by 2020."
Dave Palmer, Managing Director of Icomera UK, added: "Icomera is proud to be supporting this ambitious, forward-thinking project. Our technology is ideal for this digital city initiative, making public transport more user-friendly and communicative."
"TfGM recognises the important role Internet connectivity has to play in delivering the 21st century passenger experience. The adaptive nature of our solution will ensure it keeps pace with newer technologies as they become available, maintaining a state-of the-art network for TfGM’s passengers."
The announcement comes following positive feedback from passengers after the Wi-Fi service was trialled on one of its trams during the summer.
Digital economy minister Ed Vaizey MP, said: "This is fantastic news for Manchester. Having free public wi-fi on all trams and Metroshuttle services will transform the digital landscape of Manchester, making it an ever greater place to live, visit and do business."