Monday, September 29, 2014

Free public wi-fi for Dundee - an update

Back in March of this year, I highlighted the need for Dundee to have a free public wi-fi offering as soon as possible and gave feedback from Dundee City Council on the matter.

As I said at the time - as town and city wireless internet access becomes more common, more and more across the world are setting up free town/city centre wi-fi hotspots for their citizens and visitors and its something I am very keen to see implemented in Dundee.    Many cities are discovering it's a good way to attract more visitors.   Already local businesses from coffee shops, hotels and restaurants, churches and bars are among the locations discovering the value of offering free wireless but a city centre wide wi-fi facility would be a boon for our city.

I recently sought an update from Dundee City Council on this important issue.   

The City Council’s Head of Information Technology has now advised me :
I have been continuing to work with colleagues in City Development on this issue. 
There continues to be significant challenges around making a city of our size attractive to service providers.    The current business models for city wifi are based on a return for a provider - based on them being able to use our street furniture for extending the penetration of 3g/4g services.
However, work continues on this and we are exploring ways of potentially collaborating with cities of a similar size to increase our chances of attracting providers.
It is vital that the city does not lag behind other cities in the provision of free public wi-fi.   With the progress of the Waterfront and the V&A at Dundee on the horizon, many new visitors will be coming to Dundee and it is important that Dundee offers public wi-fi as part of the city centre’s attractions.