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Birmingham City Council (BCC) is planning to improve broadband coverage by launching a free Wi-Fi network.

The proposal will be discussed as part of the wider Next Generation Wireless Connectivity Contract, which would see lamp-posts and CCTV columns used as 3G and 4G hotspots.

City centre street furniture would be rented out to a wholesale broadband provider, which would provide Wi-Fi connectivity for residents, workers and tourists in Birmingham.

Councillor James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City at BCC, said the project will "dramatically accelerate" mobile broadband investment in the city.

"In recent years, we have seen an exponential growth in demand for connectivity with smartphones and tablet computers becoming everyday items driving significant increases in the volume of data across mobile networks," he stated.

"This project puts us in a prime position to meet this growing demand and ensures that Birmingham will be one of the best connected cities in the UK."

Cllr McKay said offering free Wi-Fi will help the council "bridge the digital divide", enabling more people to get online, while supporting economic growth and inward investment as Birmingham becomes a better place to do business.

“By boosting 3G and 4G capacity in known areas of demand, this scheme would also lay technological foundations for the city for many years to come, underpinning our smart city aspirations," he added.

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