Wednesday, January 30 16:16:28
Shoppers and tourists will have access to free Wi-Fi internet on many of Dublin's busiest city centre streets starting from tomorrow.
The first services available in the vicinity of the council's offices at Wood Quay, and at Barnardos Square on Dame Street.
Busy spots including Henry Street and Grafton Street will see services introduced throughout February.
The service is being offered to the council for free by Spanish company Gowex, which specialises in the delivery of free municipal WiFi services.
Dublin's evolution as 'digital city' is right on track following the introduction of a free Wi-Fi service in the city centre, according to Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
Gina Quin, Dublin Chamber Chief Executive said, "Wi-Fi connectivity is something Dublin Chamber has continuously lobbied for and this latest instalment by Dublin City Council helps promote Digital Dublin. We continue to attract internet services companies to choose Dublin as their European headquarters and this has earned us the unofficial reputation as the 'internet capital' of Europe. To safeguard this status, we need to ensure we have the infrastructure that offers fast and reliable internet connectivity to locals and visitors alike".
Over the past few months, free internet access has been extended to Dublin Airport, public parks and squares in the city centre and on many Dublin Bus routes. 'Dublin Free Wi-Fi', an initiative of Dublin City Council, will launch in over twelve locations around the city. The first phase will be available from the Civic Offices, Wood Quay to St. Patrick's Park and Barnardos Square, the rest of the locations will roll out over the city throughout the month of February and include areas such as O'Connell Street, Henry Street, Grafton Street and Smithfield.
"The benefits outweigh the costs of installing and maintaining a public Wi-Fi network. It can provide internet access for people that could not otherwise afford it, help tourists avoid high data roaming charges, and drive shoppers into particular city centre areas." concluded Ms Quin.
The uptake of free Wi-Fi hotspots was highlighted recently by Dublin Airport. Since their free Wi-Fi service was launched, it has been availed of by more than one million passengers. Most European airports still charge for Wi-Fi. It costs £3 per hour at London's Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, E4.50 for 90 minutes in Paris Charles de Gaulle after an initial free 15 minutes, and E4.95 per hour in Frankfurt after a free 30 minute period.