Sheffield City Centre to get free Wi-Fi in 2018

A ten-year deal has been struck to provide free high-speed Wi-Fi across Sheffield city centre from next year.

The Wi-Fi network will be rolled out in four phases, with the first phase expected to go live in May next year.

Phase One will be the Retail Zone, and includes Fargate, The Moor, Tudor Square, the Peace Gardens and Pinstone Street.

The Entertainment Zone, which includes West Street, Division Street and Wellington Street will be part of the second phases of installations.

City ward Councillor Douglas Johnson said: ”This is one of the growing divides of inequality in the city where there are many people who have ready access to Wi-Fi are connected to the rest of the world. But for so many people, they aren’t. So it’s going to be a really good thing to open this up to the public.”

Phase Three will be the Arrivals Zone, namely Sheffield Railway Station and Sheffield Interchange, as well as Sheffield Hallam University and Ponds Forge.

Finally, the Devonshire Quarter is stated for Phase 4 of the installations.

“One of the big economic indicators for Sheffield City Centre is about the number of people who come here to visit and spend their money, as well as people visiting for business trips,” he said. “So if we have a public Wi-Fi, that will make it much more feasible for people to come into the City Centre and do things whilst they are here,” said Mr Johnson.

The network, which will be known as Sheffield Free Wi-Fi, will offer download speeds of up to 20Mbps. Idaq Networks Ltd, a Sheffield-based company, has permission from the council to use council-owned street lights to install the necessary broadband equipment.

The council will not be putting any money into the project, and the company’s main stream of revenue will be selling advertising on the log-in pages of the portal.

Idaq has said it aims to get all four phases live by the end of November 2018.