Birmingham & Black Country

Free wi-fi planned for Birmingham city centre

Free wi-fi could be offered in parts of Birmingham city centre under plans to improve mobile broadband coverage.

Victoria Square and New Street are among the areas earmarked for initial roll-out if plans are approved.

The public would be able to access the new wi-fi at the city's Moor Street, High Street, St Philip's Cathedral and the new library.

A single wholesale broadband provider would be required to offer the free wi-fi service.

'Digital divide'

Awarding the contract to allow the use of street furniture to improve mobile network capacity would net the Labour-led local authority additional revenue.

Councillor James McKay, cabinet member for a green, safe and smart city, said growth in the use of smartphones and tablets was "driving significant increases in the volume of data across mobile networks".

"Offering free wi-fi in the city centre will help us bridge the digital divide, enabling more people to get online, while supporting economic growth and inward investment as Birmingham becomes a better place to do business," Mr McKay said.

The council's cabinet will discuss the plans on 15 July.

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