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Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams Set to Offer FREE WiFi Service

Monday, January 13th, 2014 (1:19 pm) - Score 1,324
edinburgh_trams_wifi

Commuters who travel on any of the 713 Lothian Buses and 27 Trams in Edinburgh (Scotland) look set to benefit from a free wireless Internet access (wifi) service as part of the UK Government’s £150m “super-connected cities” initiative (Urban Broadband Fund).

A tender for the project (note: closes today), which was spotted by Computer Weekly, reveals that the 5-year contract to supply, install and manage the equipment and service has an estimated value of up to £2m +vat. In case of problems the deal also includes 10 sets of bus equipment as spares.

The equipment itself, which will need to support all of the latest WiFi, Ethernet and Mobile Broadband (4G etc.) standards, must be capable of providing access to WiFi services for up to 80 users per bus; the tram equipment (which must be Rail Grade equipment) should be able to cope with up to 240 users.

The Edinburgh City Council, which was last year forced to submit a revised plan for improving the city’s telecoms infrastructure after competition concerns delayed the original one (here), has given its support to the scheme.

The revised plan proposed to spend £2.7m on wifi for public transport and council buildings, £3m on broadband vouchers to help connect small businesses, £4m to support start-up businesses in specific sectors (e.g. the creative industry) and £1m for an online archive of programmes.

The local Transport for Edinburgh organisation hopes to have the new “fast, consistent and reliable” network ready by the end of 2014. A similar approach is currently being taken by nearly all of the other 22 cities that won a slice of the UK Government’s UBF budget.

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