Local authorities across the UK are leveraging wireless concessions to get community networks built free of charge to the taxpayer. Last week’s news that international wireless specialist Gowex is to roll out a wi-fi network across public areas in Newcastle is the latest in a series of announcements by councils in several major cities as well as smaller regional and seaside towns.
“Wifi has had several false starts in various locations around the UK. A number of projects have failed in the past, but we seem to have learned from our mistakes and today are seeing more coverage in more locations every week and quite often for free, at least to start with,” commented Annelise Berendt, Principal Associate with Point Topic and co-author of a new report on Wireless Concessions: the wifi opportunity for local government jointly produced with Regional Network Solutions.
Pioneers including city and district local authorities such as Colchester, Glasgow, Leeds & Bradford, Plymouth and Tendring, working with suppliers such as Arqiva, BT, MLL Telecom and Virgin Media Business, are already showing that increasing demand for internet and mobile coverage means that these networks can be built without any cost to the public purse – and in some cases will even bring in new revenues.