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Free Public WiFi From Friday

30 minutes free WiFi in time for Christmas

Written by . Published on December 20th 2012.

Free Public WiFi From Friday

MANCHESTER City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester have announced a deal with Arqiva, the communications infrastructure and media services company, to roll out free public WiFi access across Manchester city centre.

The first locations for the new WiFi network go live on Friday

On top of this, because it is a wholesale network, many users should be able to access WiFi as part of their contracts with mobile network and broadband operators from early next year.

Arqiva will create free citywide public internet access for people on the move, providing up to 30 minutes access to the internet through the _FreeBeeMcr WiFi network with unlimited access to public sector websites such as www.manchester.gov.uk and Visit Manchester.

On top of this, because it is a wholesale network, many users should be able to access WiFi as part of their contracts with mobile network and broadband operators from early next year.

The move comes as an increasing number of people are using mobile devices to access the Internet, with Ofcom stating that nearly half of UK adults own a smartphone and the percentage is even high for under 24 year olds; 40 per cent of Manchester city centre's population is under 24.

The WiFi roll out will be in three phases with the first phase starting just before Christmas 2012 in a number of high footfall public spaces, such as St Peter's Square, Albert Square and Cross Street with further city centre locations to follow.

The second phase, to follow in spring 2013, will take in transport hubs and stops along key routes used by train, bus and Metrolink passengers.

The final stage, from summer 2013, will extend the services to other areas of the city with a high footfall such as  shopping centres.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for Environment at Manchester City Council, said: "Providing improved Internet access for Manchester residents, businesses and visitors promotes social inclusion and economic growth.

"We want to ensure that Manchester residents and visitors get the most out of the city and giving them free WiFi access will mean they have a wealth of information and services at their fingertips.”

People should be aware the 30 minutes are consecutive from the moment of registration (the first time) or connection, and can't be spread across the day. You can't surf for gambling or porn of course.

At the end of the 30 minutes you'll be redirected to a portal where you can connect to your usual service provider or buy extra time off Arqiva.

Other info

Manchester's free Wifi can be accessed on _FreebeeMcr Wi-Fi. Apple users access the network by choosing options and then following prompts. People using Windows or Android equipment will be able to get onto the network manually by accepting prompts. 

As for iPhone users Confidential's chasing whether they will have to go through their WiFi settings. 

In September, Manchester City Council secured £12 million of government funding to spread the advantages of ultrafast broadband. The Manchester Digital City plans, which it will fund, aim to make ultrafast broadband available to 228,000 premises in total with the aspiration that the latest government funding will help bring it to 27,700 residents and 6,200 businesses by 2015.

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12 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

philiposmentosDecember 20th 2012.

wtf, 30 mins! wow, impressive stuff

Doctor QDecember 20th 2012.

30 minutes is useless - c'mon Cloud Wi-Fi, don't just do Holts pubs, do the whole city centre.

AnonymousDecember 20th 2012.

Thats 30 free minutes whatever the constraints are. I hardly call that something to grumble about if it means that you get access to your email and services within Manchester. The council certainly is keen on its online forms and if that is free outside of the 30 minute period all the better. Anything above and beyond the 30 minutes is leisure so why shouldn't you pay for it if Arqiva are going to provide that service. Alternatively if you do need more access to the internet you could always go to your local library.

AnonymousDecember 20th 2012.

What happened to Manchester Public Wifi, it just disappeared.

AnonymousDecember 20th 2012.

I have just logged in to the new freebee wifi but it went off after 5 minutes. So much for 30 minutes free.

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialDecember 20th 2012.

You didn't read the story about it starting tomorrow did you?

AnonymousDecember 20th 2012.

I earn a good wage and have no need for wifi at all.

I don't even have a mobile phone which can access the internet.

However, should I ever need mobile internet access then I'll pay for it, and I won't ask the taxpayer to help me.

Why is the public sector using taxpayers money to provide free mobile internet access to people at all?

Is it just to encourage gullible people to buy more stuff?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
GimboidDecember 20th 2012.

Perhaps because it's good for business and tourism in Manchester?

Poster BoyDecember 21st 2012.

Bah! Humbug...!

Steve5839December 21st 2012.

What has earning a good wage got to do with it?

As to why we need it? Its very simple, when travelling most people will use a pub / restaurant that has free wifi first and others later - same with cities.

Its 2013!!!!!

DrakeDecember 21st 2012.

Anyhoo, this line about 'you can't search for gambling or porn of course'. How's this done? Usually through specifc site blocking and keywords. Which often blocks LGBT sites too. Sure that will go down well in the Village. Anyone bothered to try it out?

Julie JemFebruary 14th 2013.

30 minutes? More like 5. It logs you off then tells you you've no minutes left. There's a glitch somewhere

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