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Free public Wi-Fi services are coming to Tyneside, it has been reported.

Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council have signed an agreement with Spanish infrastructure provider Gowex, which will install wireless hotspots in public areas.

The deployment of around 300 antennae will begin in the summer, with the project set for completion by 2015.

Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said that as super-fast broadband rolls out across Newcastle, it will make "a big difference to businesses and residents who sign up".

"But these days, it’s important for people to have access to broadband while they’re on the move too," he claimed.

"This investment will put Newcastle and Gateshead in the forefront of UK areas for public Wi-Fi availability."

Councillor Malcolm Graham, Gateshead Council’s Cabinet Member for Employment and Skills, said being able to connect quickly and easily to the internet is "now such an integral part of business and personal life".

"This scheme, offering free Wi-Fi in key public areas, confirms our commitment to being at the forefront of the digital revolution," he added.

Ed Vaizey, the Communications Minister, also welcomed news of the public Wi-Fi deployment on Tyneside.

He said that with demand for Wi-Fi "skyrocketing", it is "tremendous news" for Newcastle - one of the UK's 22 Super-Connected cities.

"The funding that government has made available to Newcastle will see free Wi-Fi spots pop up in public areas across the city," Mr Vaizey noted.

This will allow everyone to access broadband while on the move, he added.

"[It] is all part of the remarkable transformation of connectivity currently underway," Mr Vaizey stated.

Newcastle and Gateshead join 86 other global cities - including Edinburgh, Dublin, New York, San Francisco and Madrid that have already deployed Gowex Wi-Fi services.

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