Early Christmas present for Coventry city centre

Published Monday, 19 November 2018

In the lead up to the city’s big Christmas lights switch on, free public WiFi is now available to city centre visitors and businesses.

Wi-Fi in the city centre
Pictured (left to right): Bernard Ginns, IntechnologyWiFi, Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member, Jobs and Regeneration, Trish Willetts, BID Director, Coventry BID, Neil Downton, Project Manager, Coventry City Council, Cllr Richard Brown, Digital Champion

Ahead of this Wednesday’s event, people working, visiting or living in the city centre will be able to benefit from this free service by simply searching for CovFREEWIFI on their phones or mobile devices.

The Council has led and project managed the development and granted IntechnologyWiFi a concession to deploy, monitor and maintain wireless equipment on street furniture and buildings owned by the local authority and partners in the city centre.

This means the free-to-use service can be delivered at no additional cost to Coventry residents. The plans are to roll out the service across Coventry in early 2019.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, said:

“This is great news for Coventry as it’s really important as a city we keep moving forward. Wi-Fi is an absolute necessity today for everybody so it’s great that people can access this free public Wi-Fi via their phones, laptops and computers.

“An added benefit is that it can increase access to the digital economy, improve digital skills and support business growth which is what Coventry is all about.

“Ultimately this will help to create a cleaner, greener and healthier city and raise the profile of Coventry as a modern, dynamic and successful place.”

IntechnologyWiFi works with local authorities across the UK to offer a ‘digital window to the city’ to engage with users and provide services to support and encourage social and economic activities and the growth of the digital economy.

Natalie Duffield, Chief Executive of IntechnologyWiFi, said:

"Free public WiFi for the benefit of residents, tourists and businesses in Coventry city centre is just the beginning.

“Our network also provides a city-wide platform for the Internet of Things (IoT), one of the first of its kind in the UK. 

“This will allow the development of innovative and insightful new applications for use in transport, environment, healthcare, retail and leisure settings. 

“The platform is secure and will be open to public and private sector organisations, from council departments which need to deliver public services online to start-ups with great ideas for new products.

"We are excited to be investing in the next UK City of Culture and rolling out our UK technology to connect, inform and engage users for the benefit of everyone with a stake in the success of Coventry, which will become the UK’s first Smart City of Culture.

“We offer free, unlimited and family-friendly access to the digital world at speeds faster than our larger corporate commercial rivals.” 

The news will also be popular for city centre businesses as Trish Willetts, Director for Coventry’s BID, explained:

“With so many people using technology such as phones and laptops, it is vital that Coventry helps them stay connected, so this is fantastic news. We are working on something special that ties into this and we are excited. It’s going to be brilliant.

“It is a positive step forward for businesses and the city centre as another way to draw visitors in and show that we are continuing to progress and help to drive Coventry’s future.”

Coventry’s annual Christmas lights switch on event takes place in Broadgate, begins at 5.00pm on Wednesday 21 November with the big switch on set for 7.15pm.

The Council and IntechnologyWiFi worked on delivering a similar pilot service for visitors to this year’s Godiva Festival with over 3,000 people accessing the free public Wi-Fi at the event.

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