Thursday, October 24, 2019

News: Council press ahead with Rotherham town centre Wi-Fi


Rotherham Council is looking for a private company to take forward its plans to offer free Wi-Fi in the town centre.

Rothbiz reported at the end of 2017 that the authority was looking at free Wi-Fi as part of a range of measures to try and stimulate footfall and support existing businesses as they wait for more catalyst projects in the new masterplan to revive the town centre.

More details emerged last year with Rotherham hoping to follow the likes of Sheffield with with a scheme designed to include no or minimal upfront or ongoing investment by the authority. A concession contract would see a private company install superfast and ultrafast broadband equipment in exchange for providing the bidder with exclusive use of council-owned street lights and street furniture for wireless communications.

Now tender documents show a potential ten year opportunity to provide free of charge public access Wi-Fi connectivity in the Rotherham indoor market and outdoor area, Rotherham town centre, and Clifton Park. The Council will grant the company the opportunity to install equipment on streetlights and buildings.


In Sheffield, local firm, Idaq Networks has provided the wi-fi service by installing 220 pieces of superfast and ultrafast broadband equipment to council-owned street lights and street furniture. Over 17,000 unique devices use the service everyday.

Rotherham Council is hoping for phase 1 to be implemented at the markets next year.

Recommended reading: CityFibre's Rotherham Broadband Rollout is Impacting Entertainment

Currently free Wi-Fi in the town centre is available in specific buildings or retail / leisure outlets. For example, at Rotherham Council's Riverside House and the library, Tesco, McDonald's and Wetherspoons.

Last year, BT replaced its traditional BT phone boxes in Rotherham town centre with new "InLinks" - fully-accessible community structures that can provide free ultrafast Wi-Fi, free UK landline and mobile calls and free mobile device charging.

Images: Sheffield Council


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