Free WiFi which you can sign in to with your Facebook profile is coming to the streets of York.
The WiFi network will be managed by social WiFi group Purple WiFi, which aims to take the hassle out of open WiFi access by allowing users to access networks by signing in with a social network profile.
The network of over 150 access points, expected to be completed by 2015, will be free for users 24 hours a day, seven days a week and promises to be strong enough to support BBC iPlayer streams.
Service provider Pinacl Solutions has won a contract from the local authority to install Ruckus ZoneFlex WiFi access points throughout the city. Pinacl has been charged with installing the points in discreet locations that don’t spoil York’s historic aesthetics.
Purple WiFi will handle the management side of things, helping businesses and the council monitor customer footfall. Data will also be available to businesses for a subscription to enable them to gain further insight into their customer base.
Roy Grant, the City of York Council’s Head of ICT said: “Having access to free WiFi is essential for a thriving business community in today’s marketplace and the high quality network will be incredibly useful for both residents and visitors to York.
“The network will also prove an invaluable resource in supporting the council’s work to further understand and monitor how the city centre is used in order for us to maximise this and support the city to prosper and grow.”
As well as making it easier for customers to log in, part of Purple WiFi’s approach means that businessess can easily identfy people using their network, something which companies offering public WiFi are required to do by law.
York’s free public WiFi network is funded by the Super Connected Cities scheme set up by the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport). An relative of the BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) fund, Super Connected Cities has been set up to fund free public WiFi networks across 22 UK cities. Super Connected Cities has also launched a separate voucher scheme allowing businesses to get connected to next-gen superfast broadband.
Image: Geograph/Peter Bond