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23 June 2014, 05:35
Free Wi-Fi internet is being launched in Cambridge city centre today, two weeks before the Tour de France passes through.
The year-long trial will cover areas including Parker's Piece, King's Parade, the Senate House and the market area.
The new connection has been set up by installing 20 new internet access points on lamp posts across the city.
These have been specially engineered to host the latest Wi-Fi technology discretely.
The new Wi-Fi hotspots also build upon the University of Cambridge's connections across the city.
They will be powered by The Cloud, owned by Sky.
It's part of 'Connecting Cambridgeshire', a County Council programme to improve internet connectivity across the county.
Councillor Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, which leads the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, said: "Cambridge has always been at the forefront of new technology and evolving the way we interact with the world.
This new free public Wi-Fi service in central Cambridge is a fantastic example of the difference we can make for residents, visitors and students by working together.
Developing wider public access Wi-Fi and improving mobile coverage is part of the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme's drive for better connectivity across the county, which is vital in an increasingly digital world. This trial paves the way for improving wireless connectivity across the city and beyond."
Jon Holgate, Head of Network, University of Cambridge, said: "The University of Cambridge has taken this opportunity to invest in free public Wi-Fi because of the value of extending our existing University networks and bringing a lasting legacy for the city, which everyone can benefit from.
This project represented an excellent opportunity to work closely both with University colleagues as well as local partners across the City to deliver genuinely innovative and leading-edge services to academics and the general public alike.
We expect thousands of people will use the free Wi-Fi for the Tour de France event which will be a challenge for the network capacity, and the good news is that the service will still be available when the cyclists have moved on."
The council says demand for the free Wi-Fi will be monitored during the next year, to help plan for future extension of the network.
Users of the free Wi-Fi can connect to the Internet by logging in, or registering, via a shared landing page on The Cloud, which will provide links to useful information and event updates.