Thousands signing up for free city centre WiFi every day

Thousands of visitors and locals have already logged-on to the free WiFi launched in the city last month. Picture: Jon Savage.

Thousands of visitors and locals have already logged-on to the free WiFi launched in the city last month. Picture: Jon Savage.

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Revellers and residents around the city centre have embraced free WiFi – with more than 3000 people a day signing up for the new service.

And city tourism businesses are being encouraged to harness the power of increased connectivity to spread the joy of Edinburgh around the globe.

Boasting 72,000 registrations since the launch of free WiFi at the end of November, the partnership between the city council and provider intechnologyWiFi is proving popular.

Councillor Frank Ross, the city’s digital champion, said: “We’re delighted that the uptake of people using the WiFi service has reached this level.

“I am sure that the hundreds of thousands of festive revellers enjoying Edinburgh this winter will appreciate sharing their photos and videos throughout the world for free.

“I should remind everyone though that the free WiFi service isn’t just for Christmas, it is here to stay.

“Edinburgh is an extremely photogenic international city and it is great news that going forward the millions of residents and visitors in Edinburgh each year can post content from the many festivals and events the city holds.”

The service was rolled out in time for the festive celebrations creating a potentially lucrative new channel for tourism businesses to engage with new and existing customers.

And a host of local companies are already using social media to promote #EdiFreeWiFi. Large hotel chains such as the Holiday Inn and independent hostels such as the Cowgate’s Budget Backpackers where, for visitors on a budget, access to a reliable, free WiFi is a perk that could help persuade people to linger in the centre of town.

Angela Hunter, who works at Budget Backpackers, has been in Edinburgh two months and said she will recommend the network to others.

“I don’t plan to live here permanently so there is no point in getting a mobile plan,” she said. “I have used the free WiFi a few times and it is great for travellers and tourists.

“I would definitely hang around in the centre of town and spend more time there while using the WiFi.”

And today the organisers of the Capital’s Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations said the free WiFi would attract yet more visitors to Edinburgh.

A spokeswoman said: “Edinburgh’s Christmas is having a very successful year to date, with record numbers of both locals and visitors.

“ Supporting people to share their experience and spread the word both locally, nationally and internationally through social media is a boost to major events in the city.”

Natalie Duffield, chief executive of intechnologyWiFi, said: “The rapid uptake of our new service shows there is strong demand for high-speed connectivity from people living and working in this great city.

“With current mobile networks lagging far behind expectations, WiFi is filling an important gap in Edinburgh’s digital economy and connecting businesses with customers.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk