Ness WiFi, a free WiFi service across Inverness city centre that provides free access with no time limits, has launched.
The first phase of the Inverness City WiFi project provides fast internet coverage in a pilot area within the city centre. A full city centre roll out will follow later this year in the summer.
The £500,000 project is funded by the Inverness and Highlands City-Region Deal and led by The Highland Council (in partnership with Rapier Systems) The Pilot will help shape the main city WiFi rollout by providing data and understanding of the project.
It is intended that the free WiFi service will benefit businesses, residents, students and tourists, and encourage visitors to the city.
Provost of Inverness, Helen Carmichael said: “I am delighted to see this exciting project get underway. The benefit of easy access to free, fast internet connection will be enormous for shoppers, tourists and businesses in the city centre. So much of what we do depends on the internet, whether you are looking for directions, checking emails, searching for accommodation, booking a restaurant or show, or chatting with friends or colleagues.
“The vision behind the City-Region Deal is to position the city and the Highlands as a region of digital opportunity. Inverness will be one of the few cities across the UK with free WiFi and a project like this will truly help us towards the ambition of making Highland a place of digital opportunities.”
Boost for Tiree
Meanwhile, Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) has awarded £80,000 to a separate initiative on Tiree, the most westerly-island in the Inner Hebrides.
Residents and businesses have enjoyed 2Mbps fixed wireless broadband since the Tiree Community Development Trust (Tiree CDT) built a network there in 2005 after a lack of commercial interest, but this is set to be ramped up to 30Mbps thanks to the CBS funding.
CBS is a Scottish government initiative aimed at extending coverage beyond the 95 percent of premises set to be covered by the £410m Digital Scotland project, part-funded by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).
“Improving infrastructure, like broadband, is a vital component in the development of our local economy and in our island’s fight against depopulation,” said Mark Vale of Tiree CDT, which is also stumping up £11,000.
“This project will deliver a greatly improved quality of internet services and speeds to 160 households and businesses in our community and enhance the long-term viability of community broadband on Tiree.”
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