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Free street WiFi plan for Brighton and Hove
A switched on city where entrepreneurs cut deals from deckchairs and visitors seek out top attractions on the move – that’s the new vision for Brighton and Hove.
The city council plans to spend £150,000 on free street WiFi in central and commercial areas and the seafront.
Transmitters could be mounted on council buildings and lampposts.
The council says the plan could net at least £5 million of government funding.
The council is working with Wired Sussex to outline the business case for the bid.
It would be submitted to the government in September with results expected in the chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
The money has become available from the council’s underspend from the last financial year.
A total of £150,000 was allocated towards the bid at a policy and resources committee meeting yesterday (June 14).
Under the plan, which will be considered by the economic development and culture committee on Thursday, June 21, ultrafast cable broadband would be installed at the New England and North Laine Business Quarter, the Lewes Road ‘academic corridor’ and around Brighton and Hove railway stations.
Earlier this year the city missed out on the first round of £100 million government funding to create ten super-connected cities because the government did not consider Brighton and Hove to be a large enough city to qualify.
Following the ‘Let Brighton Bid’ campaign, supported by The Argus, ministers in March announced another £50 million would become available to smaller cities, including Brighton and Hove.
A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Street WiFi would mean faster internet, email and social media for businesses and individuals wherever they are in a wide area of the city centre and sea front.
“It could mean a huge amount of online business or social activity could take place from a deckchair, a park bench or a car park rather than being tied at the currently limited number of WiFi hotspots in cafes or bars.”
Phil Jones, managing director of Wired Sussex, said: “Better, widespread Wi-Fi coverage in Brighton is fast becoming a key ingredient for delivering business growth.”
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