30 minutes' free access per day for registered users
Hammersmith & Fulham Council has announced that most of our borough will receive free wifi coverage by next year.
The council says it is about to sign a contract with communications company Arqiva to provide an H&F branded wifi service.
Registered users will get 30 minutes of free wifi a day and unlimited access to the Council's website.
The council says this service will come at no cost to the taxpayer as the agreement will see Arqiva pay £500,000 for the use of the lampposts to install the network. The Council will also get a share of any income generated.
The first part of the borough to benefit from the scheme will be Shepherd's Bush which will receive free wifi by the end of 2013. Hammersmith will receive wifi soon after and Fulham by mid 2014.
The deal will mean that anyone living or visiting the borough will be able to access wifi for free from a wifi enabled device, such as a smartphone, tablet or PC.
They will also gain unlimited free access to H&F branded 'landing pages', guiding users to the H&F website where they will be able to access council services.
In addition, people in range of the network will be able to access all other internet sites for free for the first 30 minutes of use each day.
There will also be a flexible pay-as-you-go model without any commitment from users to spend after the first 30 minutes free has finished.
The council says the wifi contract is part of its attempts to encourage residents to access and pay for its services via the website.
By doing its business online, the council is able to reduce its back office costs which is one of the reasons that it has been able to cut council tax by at least three per cent for six out of the last seven years.
Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council deputy leader said: "This is a fantastic deal for taxpayers and the council. We know that many of our residents still do not have online access, so this deal will open up a new digital world to them.
"This will make it easier than ever for our residents to get online. It will also make it easier for people to access council services online wherever they are and they will help us keep reducing council tax bills."
Many services are already online, including applying for parking permits, paying penalty charge notices, managing council tax and housing accounts and library services.
The new wifi, however, will not work in residents' homes, so local people should not cancel their contracts with their current internet providers.
Free wifi is also available in many cafes and pubs across Hammersmith and Fulham plus Overground and underground stations including Hammersmith.
For more information, including a map of WiFi enabled stations, visit TfL's Station WiFi.
May 15, 2013