Those who attend stadium events on a regular basis will know that getting a reliable phone signal can be difficult. Even 4G is often not always available particularly in steel framed buildings. A free WiFi signal can be a boon for those seeking the half time scores from elsewhere or seeking to email an update home on how well the concert is going.
Next week the Council is being asked to fund the provision of free WiFi access at the new stadium as well as at Clifford’s Tower and Coppergate.
The cost will be over £308,000, with £250,000 of this down to the Community Stadium network.
WiFi is currently available at local Community Hubs, Children Centres, Explore (Library) Centres and Libraries, Residential Care homes, Mansion House, Park and Ride Terminuses, West offices, Hazel Court, Registry Office and Crematorium.
Some schools also have the service but it is not universal.
There will be some scepticism about the budget priority for this programme. No usage figures for the existing free network are provided in the officer report.
There are other IT related services in the City which are arguably more urgently needed including the extension of the Councils “on line” issue reporting system and the reintroduction of “on line” and “on street” car park space availability information.
The Council even claims that it doesn’t have the technology to do routine things like the provision of a real time list of vacant garages on its web site.
These may all seem rather more urgent than allowing a tourist to browse the web from the top of Clifford’s Tower.
There will also be an ongoing debate about whether the costs of installing this facility should be a charge on users rather than taxpayers more generally?