Birmingham City Council and Virgin Media Business, in partnership with Global Reach Technology, have launched free public WiFi across the city centre, giving residents, shoppers and tourists access to unlimited data services on the go via the hotspot ID ‘_Bham Free WiFi’.
Access points – roughly the size of a shoe-box – have been mounted on lamp-posts and other street furniture across the city centre and connected back into Virgin Media Business’ nationwide fibre optic network to ensure unlimited, super-fast connectivity.
Residents and visitors in the busiest parts of the city centre will be the first to benefit from the new service, which is currently available around Victoria Square and Moor Street. Further access points are already being deployed across Navigation Street, High Street, Broad Street, Bennetts Hill and the area around the Cathedral, with completion set for the coming weeks.
Duncan Higgins, director of marketing at Virgin Media Business, said: “This exciting new technology has the potential to supercharge people’s internet services with a capacity to match the growing number of smart devices.
“Birmingham is a prototype of the super-powered, connected city, which is not only offering free internet services to all, but also accelerating a revolution in the mobile broadband experience.”
Councillor James McKay, cabinet member for a green, safe and smart city, Birmingham City Council, said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer this unrivalled connectivity in some the best-loved spaces in the city, particularly as more visitors arrive in the coming weeks to enjoy the Frankfurt Christmas Market and other festive celebrations.
“This announcement builds on our connectivity plans for the city which aim to ensure that our citizens and businesses have access to the highest quality and affordable internet services, and establishes Birmingham as the best connected city in the UK”.
In addition, the new small cell hosting service will enable UK mobile operators to supercharge their existing wireless networks by giving them the flexibility to add extra capacity into their mobile networks exactly where it is needed.