O2 has announced a partnership with Newark and Sherwood District Council to make Newark the UK’s first market town to bring digital services to life through its outdoor public wifi solution.
The partnership builds on O2’s experience as the UK’s fastest growing wifi network. The mobile operator already provides public outdoor O2 Wifi across the parts of capital, including Canary Wharf’s estate and in Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea.
Newark has a strong heritage as one of the UK’s oldest market towns, dating back to the 12th Century. The availability of O2 Wifi will be welcome news to Newark residents, shoppers and visitors as they will be able use the service to get fast, free and secure internet access, regardless of their mobile phone provider. O2 Wifi is free for everyone, and once registered, customers are automatically connected each time they enter a coverage area in one of over 9,000 hotspots across the UK.
O2 will begin installing the wifi technology in January 2014 on the street furniture and buildings in the town centre around Newark Castle, the Market Square and Appletongate. The cost of the equipment, installation and maintenance will be shared with O2. Newark and Sherwood District Council will coordinate and commission any maintenance and repair through its own contractor on behalf of O2.
O2 recently published a ‘Wifi Britain’ report that showed a quarter of Britons (25%) are more reliant on high-street wifi now than they were two years ago and 25% anticipate using it more frequently in the future. Residents and visitors to Newark will be able to use the free wifi service to check emails, stay in touch over social networks, or browse the internet while shopping.
The availability of free wifi will also support key town centre activities such as retail promotion, tourism and information about town centre facilities.
Chief Executive of Newark & Sherwood District Council, Andrew Muter said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Newark. Free wifi will be a great boost for the town centre and will support our efforts to bring more visitors into the district.”
MD for Commerce at O2, Gavin Franks, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Newark and Sherwood District Council to be the first operator to bring free public wifi in the historic market town Newark. It’s a great example of how we’re supporting the Government’s ambition to develop the continuing rollout of cellular technologies throughout the UK to bring further connectivity to more rural areas.”