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Newcastle and Gateshead extend free WiFi


Deal with BT takes network over wider area using street furniture

Newcastle and Gateshead have beefed up their public WiFi service in a deal with BT to use nodes from a combination of lampposts, CCTV columns and telephone kiosks.

The two councils have extended the availability of the service from a selection of public buildings to pedestrian routes in Newcastle city centre, Gateshead town centre and both sides of the River Tyne Quayside.

Newcastle’s deputy leader, Councillor Joyce McCarty, said the move has been made partly to reflect an increase in the availability of online public services.

“The Go Digital Newcastle project has been rolling out superfast broadband across the city, and together with that, this further investment means we have a digital infrastructure that puts us well ahead of many other cities in the world,” she said.

The concession contract with BT is for 10 years at no cost to the councils, which will receive an initial upfront rental fee and annual rent from BT for the use of its street furniture. The annual income is based on a revenue share with BT.

Under the fully managed service contract, BT will install and operate the service and provide a 24/7 support desk for users via a free 0800 telephone number.

The services are based on fast dual band WiFi standards with no restriction on the length of time users can browse the internet, and with a block on inappropriate content.

The Go Digital project is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as part of the Government’s UK-wide Super Connected Cities programme.

Image: Tyne Bridge by Tagishsimon, CC 3.0 through Wikimedia

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