Edinburgh commuters will soon be able to enjoy free WiFi on Lothian Buses and the long-awaited trams system.
All 713 Lothian Buses and all 27 trams will benefit from the WiFi rollout which will begin later this year.
As part of the Super Connected Cities scheme, Edinburgh City Council has pushed for greater connectivity across the Scottish capital.
Super Connected Cities was a fund originally intended to pay for high speed fibre broadband links to be installed across the UK’s biggest cities, but European laws on state aid forced city chiefs to change their plans.
Instead, money from the Super Connected pot is being spent on public WiFi projects such as this one and a voucher scheme for businesses who want money off for fibre broadband installation. Edinburgh’s public WiFi plan is said to cost roughly £2 million.
A supplier for the service has not yet been announced and neither has launch date for installation of the WiFi hardware. It’s possible that Virgin Media could snap up the contract, given the company’s recent track record, or it could just as easily be The Cloud, O2 or any big WiFi provider.
The trams, which have been under construction since 2007, is expected to finally launch this May.
Speaking to The Scotsman, Graham Birse, director of the Edinburgh Institute at Edinburgh Napier University said:
“This may not sound like much to some but it’s a very significant development, not only in terms of enhancing the visitor experience but also benefiting businesses.”
“Cities and destinations that have advanced WiFi have found visitors tend to explore more, visit more theatres and events, find restaurants and attractions, and indeed spend more during their stay.
Birse hopes that free WiFi will be installed along the Glasgow-Edinburgh rail route. Glasgow has missed out on being included in the Super Connected Cities scheme, meaning funding for a similar scheme would have to come from the private sector.
Image: Craig Murphy/Flickr