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?
Bus operator First and City of York Council have today officially launched a free WI-FI service for tens of thousands of bus users thanks to York’s share of £50 million from the government’s Super-Connected Cities programme fund.
The BBC has lifted the lid on the deal that Labour Councillors did to provide “free” WiFi access in the centre of York.
click to view
We said all along that nothing is “free” and now we know what the payback is.
The deal means that large amounts of personal data about you, your activities, interests and movements has been made available to third parties.
We think that individual users should be able to opt out of providing such personal information.
Will the Council agree and act?
Labour launch “free” WiFi. but look at the small print
The Councils extended use of “spy cameras” and behind closed doors decision making means that it already has a poor reputation on civil liberties issues
This is a link to the media release response they have put on their web site,.
Separately Labour Leader James Alexander has come under fire for lack of transparency on a deal that the Council did with an IT provider to use the Councils own super highway network.
Procured by the last LibDem administration, the network was intended to provide high speed links for all the Councils buildings around the City.
Now the core network may be used as part of the roll out of an ultra high speed network under a deal which the Council says will being high speed broadband to “every property in the City”.
Problem is that part of the network has been subsidised by taxpayers and its use – other than at a commercial rate – could violate EU state subsidy rules.
Expect more of this as and when the service is launched.
The Council has admitted that it will use data from its “free WiFi” service to track people movements around the City centre.
The admission comes in response to a Freedom of Information request which can be read by clicking here
The Council says it will not reveal the activities associated with individual phones
The issue has not been discussed publicly by any committee of the Council.