Manchester casts its web even wider as city extends free Wi-Fi network to help residents stay connected

Mancunians should have no problems watching their favourite shows or chatting to friends online when on the go as the city now has the second largest Wi-Fi network in the country.

More than 80 access points will be available across the city as the latest phase of Wi-Fi extension nears completion.

Streets such as Oxford Road, Piccadilly and St. Peters Square will offer 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi per day to city centre residents and visitors.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The move to extend free Wi-Fi across the city centre forms part of our ambition to become a world-leading digital city by 2020. 

“Improving internet access for our residents, visitors and businesses brings huge social benefits and also helps to boost the city’s economy.”

Around 30,000 people have already taken advantage of _FreebeeMCR, who are run by communications infrastructure and media services company Arqiva, and provide their service at no cost to the city.

Paul Hellings, Director of Wi-Fi at Arqiva, said: “Providing the connectivity to cities like Manchester affords both businesses and residents alike, economic and social benefits.

“Staying connected when out and about is nothing short of a necessity for many of us and we’re priding ourselves on the wireless infrastructure we’re bringing to UK cities.”

The next planned stage of expansion will take the free service beyond the city centre to selected district high streets.

Image courtesy of Jacob Botter, with thanks

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