Cambridge on Cloud nine with Wi-Fi wizardry
Free Wi-Fi across central Cambridge is set to revolutionise the way residents, visitors and students connect to the city.
A year-long trial of a new Wi-Fi network was launched today by Connecting Cambridgeshire and The University of Cambridge ready for when the Tour de France comes to Cambridge on July 7.
The free Wi-Fi will allow people to keep up to date with friends, work or study on the move and share their experiences of events such as the Tour de France. The service is being provided through BskyB-owned The Cloud, which has over 22,000 hotspots across the UK.
Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council and the University of Cambridge have worked together to set up the free public access Wi-Fi, which builds upon existing University networks to bring lasting benefits for the city and beyond.
It is the first step in making Wi-Fi technology more widely available as part of Connecting Cambridgeshire’s ambitious programme to improve connectivity across the county.
More than 20 new Wi-Fi access points have been installed on lighting posts, CCTV poles and public buildings at key locations including Parker’s Piece, King’s Parade, the Senate House and the market area. They include traditional looking lamp posts that have been specially engineered to host the latest Wi-Fi technology discretely.
Jon Holgate, Head of Network, University of Cambridge, said: “The University of Cambridge has taken this opportunity to invest in free public Wi-Fi because of the value of extending our existing University networks and bringing a lasting legacy for the city, which everyone can benefit from.
“This project represented an excellent opportunity to work closely both with University colleagues as well as local partners across the City to deliver genuinely innovative and leading-edge services to academics and the general public alike.
“We expect thousands of people will use the free Wi-Fi for the Tour de France event which will be a challenge for the network capacity, and the good news is that the service will still be available when the cyclists have moved on.”
Users of the free Wi-Fi can connect to the Internet by logging in, or registering, via a shared landing page on The Cloud, which will provide links to useful information and event updates. A map of free Wi-Fi coverage in Cambridge can be viewed at www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk/wifi
Connecting Cambridgeshire is leading the introduction of public access Wi-Fi as part of the Government-funded Super Connected Cities project to improve superfast broadband connectivity and expand wireless technology in Cambridge and surrounding economic areas of South Cambridgeshire.
The University of Cambridge is investing in the network as part of plans to extend its existing education Wi-Fi networks to all Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin students, staff and visiting academics to cover open spaces such as Parker’s Piece and Jesus Green.
The University’s existing networks already support up to 25,000 unique visitors each week of which a third are visitors from other universities. Demand for the free Wi-Fi will be monitored over the next 12 months to help plan for future extension of the network.