North Lanarkshire Council has come to a framework agreement with network provider Commsworld for digital connectivity services.
It will involve the Edinburgh based company accelerating the roll out of gigabit-capable fibre broadband across the local authority area, providing free public Wi-Fi in town centres and boosting internet connectivity to schools.
The deal is set to run for 15 years and has a value of up to £150 million.
The company said it will future proof North Lanarkshire’s digital backbone, extending the availability of high speed networks to business and homes.
Its plans for public Wi-Fi include connecting all town centres, council and public buildings, sport and leisure facilities, culture venues, libraries, country parks, sheltered housing and accommodation for homeless people.
It will also upgrade internet connectivity for the council’s 155 schools, providing primary schools with a minimum connection of 1Gbps – 20 times the current capacity for many – and secondary schools with 5Gbps.
Commsworld has also said there could be plans to offer big reductions on rates for gigabit-capable broadband in the county.
Huge leap forward
Councillor Kenneth Duffy, the convener of the council’s transformation and digitisation committee, said: “The award of this contract to Commsworld is a huge leap forward for the ambitions we have for everyone in North Lanarkshire.
“The potential impact of these plans cannot be underestimated as this contract has brought forward and increased the availability and choice of fibre broadband to towns, communities, businesses and rural areas across North Lanarkshire, massively improving their digital connectivity and delivering a GVA (gross value added) of around £1.3 billion over 15 years.
“We know from talking with people in communities that digital exclusion is a real concern. Equality of access is crucial to improving the lives of people living here and we’re starting right here by providing a network of free public Wi-Fi across our own public buildings, town centres, schools, leisure centres, venues, sheltered housing and homelessness facilities.
“This means that anyone can have access to one of the fastest internet connections available from these locations, supporting a range of individual and business needs such as faster upload and download speeds, higher quality video and audio streaming and the ability to support more devices simultaneously at home.”