BT press release | May 19, 2004
Towns and cities throughout Wales could soon follow in the footsteps of Cardiff, which today became the first city centre in the UK to offer extensive Wi-Fi coverage.
A network of BT Openzone access points will offer extensive coverage across the city centre precinct, the CafÃ© quarter and the prestigious Cardiff Bay development.
BT and Cardiff County Council have agreed a public/private partnership to fund the roll out of BT Openzone. The Council will also receive a share of the revenue generated in return for their investment.
New access points implemented under this agreement will augment those already located in hotels, pubs and restaurants to provide a total of nearly 50 BT Openzone access points across the City centre. Any new hotspots will be located in key payphone kiosks and in both council owned and commercial premises.
The innovative partnership builds on work undertaken by BT and the London Borough of Lewisham within the Nomad (the National Project for Mobile Working) project which aims to develop best practice templates for Local Authorities wishing to deploy wireless technologies.
Cardiff is the first local authority to deploy the model, but BT expects that many other councils will take the chance to have extensive Wi-Fi coverage in their city centres with BT Openzone access points using the same partnership approach.
The Cardiff deal reinforces BT's leading position in the UK for public Wi-Fi. The company already has a network of more than 2,500 prime access points, including Hilton hotels, McDonald's restaurants, British Airways customer lounges, railway stations, airports and motorway service stations.
Chris Clark, CEO, BT Wireless Broadband, said: "This forward-looking deal demonstrates how BT is seeking to make public Wi-Fi accessible to all across the UK, either through partnerships like this with Cardiff County Council or roaming agreements.
"Anybody who is in the centre of Cardiff for business or pleasure will be able to use their wireless-enabled laptop or personal digital assistant (PDA) and experience the speed of wireless broadband. And what Cardiff has done today, any other local authority can do tomorrow. We now have a partnership model that works and are ready to team up with other councils."
Crispin O'Connell, Chief Officer for ICT at Cardiff County Council, said: "The Council is delighted have signed this agreement with BT. Cardiff is a city on the move and the installation of wireless broadband in 50 locations across the City Centre and Bay area will give it a unique factor to attract investment and visitors to the area."
The launch this summer will be followed by an intensive marketing campaign to promote the benefits of high-speed, wire-free working, including demonstrations at Cardiff hotels.
Notes to editors
Using BT Openzone
BT Openzone provides access to the internet and the ability to get secure and fast connection to corporate networks while working "on the pause" away from the office. Users with a laptop and a Wireless LAN access card and software can access data at speeds of up to 500 kbps (almost 10 times faster than a standard 56K modem), enabling them to send and receive large quantities of information at broadband speed. Users need to be within range of an Openzone site (approx 100 metres) - zones will be badged with the BT Openzone logo. Anyone with a Wi-fi enabled device, such as a laptop using Intel Centrino mobile technology, can instantly access Wi-fi hotspots. Users without an enabled device can buy a wireless LAN card, such as a BT Voyager card, from as little as £25.
Subscriptions start at just £10 a month for 120 minutes. Occasional users can use the new pay-as-you-go option at 20pence per minute or the one-hour pass for £6. A full list of prices is available at www.btopenzone.com