For a number of years, City of York Council has been undertaking extensive public Wi-Fi implementation on its own behalf, and has been working to ensure a holistic approach to the provision of public Wi-Fi within council-owned buildings in York. Using its own funding, York has public Wi-Fi in its libraries, sports centres and council offices.
In York City Centre, we have established a wireless concession in York called CityConnectWiFi. The council receives a fee for the assets used and the contract includes a profit share arrangement. It is expected that any income will be reinvested to improve York's standing as a digital city.
CityConnectWiFi is a free Wi-Fi solution designed and managed by Pinacl Solutions. Phase 1 of 3 has been rolled out across York city centre and at all six Park & Ride terminals. The Wi-Fi service is available 24/7, 365 days a year and is completely free to use. For more information see the Pinacl Solutions website.
The council does not receive any user information from the service but does have access to footfall information to assist in city planning.
Tweet us at @YorkDigitalCity using the hashtag #CityConnectWifi to let us know what you think about it!
As part of the Super Connected City programme, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) invited cities to bid for grant funds to install public Wi-Fi in 1000 buildings by end of March 2015.
The council subsequently bid for £230,000 which was accepted by DCMS in November 2014. The following has been / is being delivered:
There are 11 buildings spread across York occupied by supported people in the age group 50-90. The buildings had no form of internet Wi-Fi access for the public spaces in which their residents convene to take part in activities and events, and to which the public are welcome.
The aim in installing Wi-Fi is to provide faster connectivity and access points in the communal meeting areas in each building. The council, as landlord, will provide devices from its own budget for residents to use. This will enable the buildings to offer basic IT skills and support users with access to online services.
The sites where Wi-Fi is currently operational are:
One of the council's five priorities is 'Building Strong Communities’, with an emphasis on helping communities to become more independent and involving them more in making decisions about the services they need.
To help facilitate this, the council wants to support an infrastructure that will encourage every community to come together through a network of hubs.
It is envisaged that physical hubs are built around the following principles:
In order to provide the above, quality internet connections are vital. Not only this, but they will improve the sustainability and life of the hubs. The following buildings are those in council ownership where we have improved internet connectivity and provided public Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, community spaces, where the council does not own the building, could not be included in the grant funding due to State Aid rules.
The sites where Wi-Fi is currently operational are:
York Art Gallery is completing a major restoration to increase its public space by 60%, and to ensure it can properly exhibit the National Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA). This will allow the showcasing of much more of the world-class collection of more than 5,000 works that span from the early twentieth century right up to the present day.
The bid was submitted to increase the planned provision of public Wi-Fi in the building to support and enhance the visitor experience in the gallery.
The DCMS grant of £25,000 has been administered by the council. The York Museum Trust are responsible for the works.
The Guildhall dates from the 15th Century and has been in continuous public use since then. The objective for this building is to equip it to offer modern facilities and usages in such a historic building. The project will act as proving ground for equipping such buildings for the future.
City of York Council's ICT team has further connected the city through the York bus Wi-Fi project, with the help of DCMS.
Launched in June 2014, the bus Wi-Fi project seeks to support local industry through enabling residents, visitors and businesspeople to connect to the internet while using bus services. It is expected that the project will lead to improving business efficiency and encourage increased usage of the city's excellent public transportation.
The bus companies; First York, who operate the Park & Ride and other city services, Coastliner, who provide York to Leeds services, and Arriva, for the York – Selby services, are partnering with the council to deliver wireless connectivity to their passengers.
The equipment has been funded through a grant from DCMS and offered to local bus operators within a concession model.
The services are run and managed by the bus companies. Their points of contact are:
The council bus team email - email@example.com
iTravel York - www.itravelyork.info/contact-us/contact-us
For further information on the project, please contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @YorkDigitalCity.
This project has been funded by Broadband UK (BDUK) through the Department of Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) 'Super Connected Cities Programme.
TalkTalk and Sky are working together to bring ultrafast broadband connectivity to homes and businesses in York. The pilot network will provide significantly faster speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.
With more and more people streaming, downloading and using the internet, the ultra fibre optic network will future proof York’s broadband capabilities, keeping up with the increasing demand and providing wider opportunities for future digital services.