A FREE wifi revolution could be hitting the streets of Gloucester city centre soon.
A plan to introduce free access to the internet across the gate streets is on the cards.
It comes as a new app promoting the city’s attractions and events is being launched by Marketing Gloucester for tourists. The app will make it easier for them to get around and make the most of their visit.
With a choice of three different tours to choose from, the new app will feature attractive images, a brief history and interesting facts. It will highlight any festivals and events taking place and it will include suggestions on places to eat and drink nearby.
The three tours will be a city centre tour, a maritime and industrial heritage tour of the Docks and a tour of Gloucester’s religious buildings. The free app will launch in the summer.
Jason Smith, chief executive of Marketing Gloucester, said: ““With the app we will also be able to promote what is happening in the city such as tours that are taking place.
“It would also be fantastic to have free wifi. Other cities such as London and Bristol are already doing it.”
Rolling out wifi would mean visitors from overseas could avoid expensive data charges on their mobile devices.
It could also be a further boon for tourism if Marketing Gloucester collected e-mail addresses from everyone who uses the wifi, as they could then be used to send mailings with reasons to return to the city.
Councillor Declan Wilson (LD, Hucclecote) has masterminded the innovative idea. He said: “We don’t want to be left behind as a city. We should be proud of our history but not be afraid to looking forward too.
“There have been complaints from American tourists that wifi isn’t available. Britain in general is quite far behind other countries where widespread wifi access is available.”
Users would log on for one hour of wifi by entering an email address. They would agree to receive marketing information about the city.
City councillors backed Mr Wilson’s plan at a meeting last Thursday and the council has now been tasked with investigating its viability.
The city has a requirement to provide some free wifi access during the Rugby World Cup in 2015 when four international games will be played at Kingsholm.
- Currently people can access wifi in city coffee shops such as Costa and Starbucks, but they must be a customer.
- Free internet access is also available at libraries in Gloucester.
- Rugby World Cup 2015 organisers say that Gloucester must provide free wifi in designated fanzones in the city during the four international matches being played at Kingsholm.
- Free wifi zones are in operation in cities like London and Bristol, as well as abroad.
- Some coffee shops now offer free drinks but instead charge for pay-per-minute access to their establishments. It means people don’t need to worry about hogging a cold cappuccino for two hours while trying to do some work.