A SCHEME to install free Wi-Fi throughout the city centre is set to finally be up-and-running by the summer – two-and-a-half-years after it was first put forward.

Worcester City Council has said it's long-held desire to offer free Wi-Fi throughout the city centre looks finally set to become reality this year.

Public Wi-Fi specialists InTechnology has emerged as the council's latest preferred provider which the council said has offered a contract which would mean it did not have to pay any one-off up-front costs towards the scheme.

A survey of the potential sites was taken by the city council before Christmas and it expects the free Wi-Fi to be up-and-running by "mid-2020."

A city council spokesman said: “We expect the free Wi-Fi service to be up and running in Worcester’s city centre by mid-2020.

“We have extended the area which was originally intended to be covered – this meant that the work had to be retendered, but contractually, everything is now in place.”

The council's policy and resources committee agreed to move ahead with the plan in July 2018 but little update has been provided since.

An update will be given to councillors this evening (January 14) on how the plan has progressed so far.

Other council projects, and funding for them, including introducing a Worcester app and placing electronic information and tourist boards in Worcester High Street have both been incorporated into the council’s main scheme to bring free Wi-Fi to the city centre.

A total of £45,000 of council money is available for the Wi-Fi project - taking in £15,000 from the Worcester app project and £15,000 from the High Street information boards.

The city council had officially been looking for a Wi-Fi provider from December 2017 and originally planned to move ahead with a £123,000 three-year scheme – which included installation, running costs and maintenance. A one-off up-front cost of £54,500 was quoted.

The city council hopes providing free Wi-Fi will be of great benefit to the city’s businesses and believes it will bring more people to the city, which supports the High Street and local economy, and gives tourists better access to attractions, restaurants and directions.

It will also give a better understanding of how people travel around the city and which areas have less people visiting and need greater attention.

Access points will be put up in dozens of locations across the city centre - most likely on lampposts, signposts and mounted onto buildings.

As well as better connecting visitors whilst they are in the city centre, the scheme will provide a range of useful information to Worcester BID on shopper and visitor habits - including who is visiting the city, how many people are visiting the city and how long they are staying for.