Edinburgh was awarded £10.7m of funding by the Westminster based Government as part of the super-connected cities programme and more information on how this will be used is emerging. The Scotsman carries the news that WiFi coverage will be rolled out to cover public areas like Princes Street Gardens and Leith Links.
Additionally it appears that 4G networks will be installed on trams and Lothian buses, we presume this is so that passengers will be able to access the Internet via a WiFi hotspot on the bus. The Executive Summary for the Edinburgh's Super-Connected City Plan reveals further details on other plans as part of the project.
The Scotsman highlights the word free, but this does not mean the council plans to totally underwrite the internet access costs, but is referring to the fact that the company that does win the hotspot contract will be required to provide a free daily usage allowance, though no news yet on how big or small the allowance will be.
The council highlights that the project does not have the funding to provide ultrafast broadband to all premises across the city, rather preferring to describe itself as 'a funder of opportunity'. Two areas in the area of Edinburgh have been identified where ultrafast coverage is currently poor, and these are West Edinburgh and the Urban Core of the city, precisely what is planned for these areas is unclear, but we are sure more detail will emerge.
One area that will benefit small businesses is the creation of a micro-grant system to over come the 'perceived barrier of excess construction charges to deliver final mile fibre connections to their premises'. While this at first glance suggests funding to pay for Fibre on Demand in areas where FTTC from Openreach has been deployed, if the grants are sufficient and flexible small business could use them to buy full fibre services from other fibre network providers, e.g. Virgin Media and Cable & Wireless.