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Bus passengers in southern parts of Hampshire - including Southampton and Portsmouth - will soon be able to access wireless broadband services.

As part of a wider refurbishment of local buses, free Wi-Fi will be rolled out across 565 vehicles from later this month.

The project is being paid for by a £4.5 million grant awarded to Hampshire County Council from the £50 million Better Bus Area Fund.

An additional £3 million is being invested by transport operators Black Velvet Travel, First, Stagecoach and Go South Coast.

Councillor Mel Kendal, Chairman of Transport for South Hampshire, said work on the first phase of the project will have been completed by the end of August.

He explained that services in Southampton and the surrounding area - including parts of Test Valley, Winchester, Eastleigh and the Waterside - will be the first to receive upgrades.

"The second phase this autumn will see the programme rolled out in the south-east of the county, including Portsmouth," Councillor Kendal noted.

"Free Wi-Fi is just one of a range of initiatives we are working on with bus operators to improve bus travel in South Hampshire. We believe that by improving the overall passenger experience, this will encourage more people to travel by bus – and this, in turn, will help to stimulate the local economy." 

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