Widespread free Wifi access is becoming more crucial than ever.
Such demand is coming from businessmen and women wanting to close deals on the move, tourists wishing to make purchases as well as download maps and the general public looking to quickly check their bank balance or Facebook account. Furthermore this has been confounded by the increasing number of mobile devices which people carry including laptops, smart phones and tablet PCs.
However it is generally a bit of a hard ache to gain internet access in city centres without a variety of complications. A list of networks will always pop up on your device but you are then required to purchase a cappuccino or some form of gimmicky loyalty card, which you inevitably loose between visits.
A recent study by the Office of National Statistics demonstrated that 4.9 million people connected through hotspots including those residing in airports, hotels, cafes and restaurants over the past year. This is a huge increase from the 0.7 million in 2007.
Many free Wifi schemes have been approached but then pulled with recent government cuts. This included the London Islington “wireless mile” and Swindon council’s promise to deliver free Wifi from the top of every lamp post by April 2010.
Despite such failure however free Wifi networks have been setup successfully. Cities such as Raleigh, Seattle and Denver in the US as well as Taipei and Bologna have all rolled out successful implementations.
York is however one city which has recently catapulted into the lead with a Wifi pilot project underway in St Helen’s Square and on Coney Street. This will place York at the forefront of a handful of cities within the UK.
Council leader James Alexander stated: “The digital York scheme is part of a step change in the ambition we have for the city and we hope that the initial trial will be successful and provide a real boost to local businesses, visitor and shoppers.”