Free Wi-Fi Launched at Glasgow's Community Centres
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Free Wi-Fi Launched at Glasgow's Community Centres

01/12/2014

NEW PARTNERSHIP BRINGS FREE WI-FI TO COMMUNITY FACILITIES IN GLASGOW

As Glasgow’s Urban Wi-Fi network is rolled out across the city, community facilities and public halls are to enjoy free wi-fi access thanks to a partnership between Glasgow City Council, BT and Glasgow Life. Installation is almost complete at 31 locations, while Council Family partners City Building will provide tablets and other hardware, so people who don’t have a suitable device can still make use of the service.

The free Wi-Fi is open for everyone to use on a drop-in basis with venues indentifying areas where users can browse the net. Staff at the venues are also being trained to help people access the Wi-Fi.

Glasgow's Urban Wireless network was introduced through a partnership between Glasgow City Council and BT. There is free 24-hour access to the network for the duration of the contract, a minimum of eight years. BT is supporting the free Wi-Fi at community facilities around the city and has been working with Glasgow Life to identify online resources that will help support digitally excluded people to get connected for the first time.

The network has proved so popular in Glasgow that at one point - 1pm on 31 July - more than 1600 devices were connected to the network. BT is delivering the Wi-fi infrastructure, with wireless access points installed around high footfall areas and transport hubs around the city centre, parts of the East End and community hubs across Glasgow.

People using the service will be able to use their phones, laptops or tablets to stay in touch with friends and family through social media, catch up on the latest news or learn new skills. Hardware is also being made available for use by those who don’t have Wi-Fi enabled equipment of their own.

The project will also provide opportunities for those not engaged in digital technology, with training and support on how to get connected. Glasgow Life already offers a Getting Started digital skills programme and Goal for Work training, aimed at those most likely to be affected by changes to the benefits system as a result of the UK Government’s Welfare Reform programme.

Glasgow’s Museums’ collection and archives held at the Mitchell Library are also online allowing people to research the treasures owned by the City of Glasgow or to research their own family history.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “As more and more business and information moves online, so the need to improve access to the internet grows. This partnership brings new opportunity to the people who need it most, in their own communities and removes even more barriers to people accessing vital support and services. This is an outstanding example of business working together with the council to improve the lives of the people of Glasgow.”

Marion Robertson has completed 2 of the courses run by Glasgow Life which help people to get online. Marion Robertson said: “I’d retired and didn’t have a lot of computer skills which I thought would be useful when I became a volunteer fundraiser for Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland.  I signed up for classes in my local library and am about to start my third course. It really helped that I could go to a place that was local, familiar and easily accessible to learn.”

Other Glasgow Life managed facilities including Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Riverside Museum and seven libraries including the Mitchell, Drumchapel and Shettleston are also providing customers with free Wi-Fi.

Louise Humphrey, head of public affairs for BT Scotland, said: “We’re proud to be working with Glasgow City Council to connect people digitally and help them build a better future. Glasgow is leading the way in its ambition to make sure all citizens and visitors can reap the benefits of the internet, wherever in the city they are. At BT, we believe in the power of communication to transform people’s quality of life. Our partnership with GCC and Glasgow Life will help people gain the skills and confidence they need to join the online community.

“The 31 community centres involved in this project play a vital role in making this happen, helping people to take advantage of all the services the internet offers, regardless of their age or background. We applaud the 60 community centre staff who came along to a digital participation training session at our Glasgow HQ and are now set to share their skills to help others get online.”  

Councillor Paul Carey, Chair of City Building LLP said: “We are very proud to support this innovative partnership to help make free Wi-Fi available for Glasgow citizens. By delivering these services in community facilities across the city we hope this will encourage people to get online that otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

“Our participation in this initiative continues to demonstrate the investment City Building makes in the communities which it operates.”

 

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