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July 10, 2014

Free public Wi-Fi hotspots arrive to Scotland

Glasgow is the first city in Scotland to offer free access to the Internet

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Residents and tourists in Glasgow will now have free 24-hour access to Wi-Fi over the next eight years thanks to a partnership between BT and the city council.

BT is delivering 50-80 Wi-Fi access points installed across the city as part off the council’s Digital Glasgow roadmap, which aims to turn Glasgow into a world-leading digital city by 2017.

Council leader Gordon Matheson said: "Today is a special day, when Glasgow becomes the first Scottish city to offer free Wi-Fi.

"Anyone coming to the streets, public spaces and community centres covered by the first stage of this network will be able to take advantage of this innovative, fast and high-quality service. In particular, the availability of free Wi-Fi in 31 community centres across Glasgow means that we are now seen as a blueprint for other cities to follow."

The next phase of the city’s wireless network is expected to extend the coverage further by early 2015.

BT, which is also planning to launch 4G across the UK, will supply the free 24-hour access for eight years, with an option to extend for another two.

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BT Scotland partnerships director, James McClafferty, said: "BT has the UK’s largest Wi-Fi network with more than five million hotspots and we have an excellent track record of delivering large-scale, reliable communication services.

"The fact that Glasgow City Council trusts us to deliver a great service for the city centre is another fantastic endorsement for our people and their expertise."

The council’s wireless network is based on a concession model, which means that access to the wireless network in the city comes through the lease of council-owned street furniture and property, with the council providing a license to allow a network operator to build a wireless network.

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