Dundee’s first free public Wi-Fi network is set to go live as early as this summer, the Tele can reveal.
The city council has launched its search for a company to install and operate Wi-Fi at the Waterfront before potentially rolling it out to other parts of the city.
Along with visitors and locals, businesses will be able to benefit from the service.
The first phase of the £400,000 contract for Wi-Fi covering the Waterfront is expected to be in operation by August 31 — with a second phase, for “approach routes to Dundee city centre”, also intended to go live no later than the end of November.
The service will be funded through the council’s £350 million Capital Investment Strategy, which covers other policy areas including children and families, healthcare and community safety.
Dundee will join cities such as Edinburgh, Barcelona and New York in having free Wi-Fi available to the public.
City councillor Fraser Macpherson has made repeated calls for free public Wi-Fi across the city.
He said: “My understanding is that there’s been good progression made with free public Wi-Fi and the intention is there to roll it out north of the Waterfront and into the city centre in phases.
“I was keen to ensure that what we didn’t have was Wi-Fi in the Waterfront only.
“I have had assurances from council officers that they get that aspect.
“What we want is for somebody who is arriving at the new railway station to be able to go into the city centre and towards the West End while having a continuous Wi-Fi signal. A working group was set up last year by the Scottish Futures Trust to explore how the network could be rolled out in Dundee.”
Mr Macpherson added: “The Wi-Fi could be used for advertising events and information too.
“The options for what can be done are varied, so in terms of selling advertising space, there’s all sorts of possibilities.
“The fundamental point is that it’s a good thing to be having.
“I was anxious the city did not fall behind the curve on this.
“Other cities have moved forward and having public Wi-Fi for the city centre can’t be anything other than a good thing.
“We should also be looking pro-actively at free Wi-Fi for our bigger district shopping centres, such as Perth Road, Broughty Ferry and Lochee.”
The council already offers free Wi-Fi in the Central Library and community libraries.
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said: “This strategy is a clear outline of the ambition we have for Dundee and illustrates how hard we are working to realise it.
“There are a number of aspirations through the Tay Cities Deal that the wider partnership of the area want to realise because they are hugely exciting and will help to increase the momentum that has been built up.
“We are also thinking innovatively about strengthening the city’s infrastructure for years to come, and this will include the delivery of Wi-Fi and 5G readiness in the central Waterfront with the Scottish Futures Trust.
“We are absolutely determined to build a fairer and smarter city for the future and take on the challenges that exist for the benefit of our people.”