PRESS RELEASE

16 Mar 2016

CAMBRIDGESHIRE TO OFFER FREE WIFI TO BUSINESSES, VISITORS AND RESIDENTS

County drives forward a new generation of connectivity

Thousands of Cambridgeshire residents, businesses, students, shoppers and tourists are set to gain from improved connectivity as free public WiFi is made available from over 100 locations in Cambridge and beyond.

The partnership between Virgin Media Business and Cambridgeshire County Council marks the next step in the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme’s plan to boost connectivity throughout the county and support the local economy. 

The WiFi will extend to public buildings across the city of Cambridge and surrounding areas and will also be accessible from open public spaces such as parks and streets.  

With access points positioned in an increasing number of public buildings including libraries, council offices and community hubs, users will be able to enjoy seamless connectivity as they move around the city. Local businesses will also benefit, with the free WiFi being available to both them and their customers.

The public WiFi has been designed to give people easy access to the services they need, regardless of what device they are using. The single service set identifier (SSID) means users only have to log on to the network once, leaving them free enjoy uninterrupted connectivity whenever they are in a public WiFi location.

The project has benefitted from extra funding granted as part of the Government’s £150 million Urban Broadband Fund for SuperConnected Cities. The initiative aims to bring faster connectivity to cities in order to boost economic growth and support local businesses.

As part of the project, free Public WiFi in open spaces and streets around central Cambridge is also being extended in partnership with the University of Cambridge, meeting growing demand and supporting visitors to the area.

Gerry Arthurs, Director of Public Sector, Virgin Media Business, said: “Better connectivity has the power to transform our cities. “We live in a world where people expect to ‘always be on’, whether it’s our work or personal lives. Cambridgeshire is an example of a county that is embracing this; a true pioneer of the next generation of connected cities. We are incredibly excited to be working with them, and look forward to the potential the future holds.”

Noelle Godfrey, Programme Director for the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, said: "Cambridgeshire has always been at the forefront of new technology and evolving the way we interact with the world. This new, free public WiFi service is a fantastic example of the difference we can make by working together with our partners to ensure that people can connect wherever they are. 

"Developing wider public access WiFi is part of the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme's drive for better connectivity across the county, which is vital in an increasingly digital world. The roll-out of CambWifi paves the way for improving wireless connectivity across the city and beyond." 

The free WiFi, which will be provided in partnership with Global Reach, will run over the Cambridgeshire Public Services Network (CPSN) which has delivered major savings for Cambridgeshire public sector organisations since its installation in 2011, underpinned by Virgin Media Business.

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Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company. Together we serve 27 million customers across 14 countries.

We support entrepreneurs, businesses and the public sector, delivering the fastest widely available broadband speeds and a complete digital platform packed with next-generation products, applications and services.

With our £3bn Project Lightning programme we aim to reach 17 million premises by 2019, including the UK’s most under-served areas.