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Free Wi-Fi Network for the Centre of Newcastle

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The UK city of Newcastle has announced plans to deploy a municipal internet network that it says will boost the city's economy by a predicted £150 million.

Go Digital Newcastle, a government scheme delivered by Newcastle City Council, will see 97% of Newcastle given access to superfast fibre broadband by 2015, free Wi-Fi in Newcastle City Centre, a cloud computing centre, business connection vouchers and a business support programme.

The UK Broadband Impact Study published this year by analysts SQW concluded for every £1 invested in broadband by government the UK economy will benefit by £20.

Council leader Cllr Nick Forbes said: "Superfast broadband can help turn local heroes into superheroes - our city-based businesses can use the faster speeds to reach new markets and products and compete on both a national and international scale.

Newcastle is one of 22 super-connected cities where small businesses (SMEs), charities and social enterprises can apply for connection vouchers worth up to £3,000 to get connected to high speed/high grade broadband with one of nearly two hundred registered suppliers.

Visitors to the city and people needing internet access while on the move will have access to free Wi-Fi across the city and in public buildings, in high streets and there are plans to bring it onto the Metro.

Under the Go Digital Newcastle initiative, BT was awarded the contract to deploy fibre broadband across the city, delivering speeds of up to 80Mbps while most businesses and homes will be able to access 30Mbps or higher.

Around £9m of public funding is being put into Go Digital Newcastle.

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Tags: wi-fi  bt  UK