Virgin Media Business has won the UK’s first contract to provide wireless in cities outside of London as part of the Government’s “super connected” city initiative.
Virgin media business will provide free public Wi-Fi to over one million people in the cities of Bradford and Leeds. The company plans to deploy small cell wireless networks to help provide a wide Wi-Fi network.
"The super connected city initiative means a great deal for Bradford as we are a growing city with a big economy and the initiative will give existing local companies a greater competitive edge in national and global markets, as well attracting new companies and bringing additional jobs," said Councillor David Green, Council Leader of Bradford Council. "Local residents will also be able to take advantage of the opportunities that enhanced broadband connections will bring."
The comes after an Virgin Media Business won a bid to provide Wi-Fi services to the London Underground earlier this year.
Virgin claims the free public Wi-Fi will be three times the speed of 3G services as its 'small cell' devices boosts the capacity of mobile experiences.
"Small cells can transform the mobile experience by providing the connectivity needed to match the explosive broadband demand from the rapidly growing number of smartphones and tablets," said Kevin Baughan, Director of Wireless at Virgin Media Business. "In Leeds and Bradford, we're working with both the local authorities and mobile operators to put in place the infrastructure that will give residents, consumers and businesses access to the wireless connectivity that they need."
Residents of Leeds and Bradford will begin having access to the new network by as early as the New Year with the service launching in Briggate in Leeds and Bridge Street in Bradford. By early 2013, Millennium Square in Leeds and City Park in Bradford are expected to have connectivity as well.