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FREE Norwich Wi-Fi Network Gains Extension
By: MarkJ - 20 March, 2008 (8:52 AM)

The 1.35m Norfolk Openlink project, which offers free wireless (Wi-Fi) broadband Internet access around Norwich city, has been extended for a further three months while its future is decided.

Openlink had originally been due to close at the end of this month unless a crucial study into its future returned positive results. Unfortunately the study was delayed and failed to meet its mid-February 2008 deadline, leaving Norfolk County Council in somewhat of a quandary:

Norwich Evening News Quote:

Ann Carey, project director of Openlink, admitted the amount of time needed to draw up the report had been underestimated, but said it was vital to get the report right.

She said: We have got one chance to decide on recommendations and we want it to be the right recommendations. We are aware that there is a lot of interest in keeping the service and we are looking at whether there is a way, commercially, of doing this, but it is a big issue and we have to ensure we are being robust. There is legislation about what local authorities can do but we are looking into the commercial viability and sustainability of this service.

The two year pilot project, which is managed by Norfolk County Council and funded by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), was originally introduced to look at the impact that wireless technology could have on the areas economic development. Several other UK cities, including Manchester, are now running their own similar pilots.

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