Highland Council wifi project shortlisted for Connected Britain Award
The Highland Council has made the shortlist for the prestigious 2019 Connected Britain Awards for the free outdoor public Wi-Fi project in 17 locations across the Highland region.
Access to digital connectivity is seen as essential if the Highland region is to be innovative and keep its competitive place in the tourism market and support the Highland economy.
Highland council delivered a public Wi-Fi network which is free for all users and has no restrictions on time, providing access to fast, safe, efficient internet connectivity. The project has benefitted visitors, local businesses and residents and students, often bridging the gap for people who either have poor access or no access to internet connectivity.
Following the success of Inverness City Centre Wi-Fi, "Ness Wi-Fi", free wifi branded as "High-Fi", was installed in towns across the Highlands. The locations include Achnasheen, Alness, Aviemore, Dingwall, Dornoch, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus, Fort William, Invergordon, Inverness, Lochcarron (Smithy), Nairn, Portree, Tain and Ullapool.
Users log in by email or social media to access the system. GDPR compliant data can be collected and fed back to relevant stakeholders in business and tourism to help gain a better understanding local and visitor demographics.
The project forms part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal which is a joint initiative supported by up to £315 million investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highland and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.
Council Leader Margaret Davidson:
“Digital connectivity is essential these days for everything we do and free access to WiFi will enable visitors and locals to make the most of local businesses, as well as finding local job opportunities and keeping in touch with family and friends. I am delighted to hear this project has been shortlisted for the Connected Britain Awards which highlights the importance of this work in improving connectivity across the Highlands.”
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said:
“It’s fantastic that this UK Government-funded project is in the running for such a prestigious award.
“With the rollout of free town Wi-Fi now complete, local residents, businesses, and visitors across the region are benefiting from the boost to their connectivity.
“I am glad to see such great progress being made on projects that the UK Government has funded with our £53 million investment in the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal.
“We have now committed more than £1.35 billion to Growth Deals across Scotland to help create new jobs, opportunities and long term growth.”
The Council is also working with our stakeholder partners, NHS, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish National Heritage, Scottish Government to identify collaboration and best practices and potential funding and opportunities for the project moving forward.
The award winners will be announced at Connected Britain in London on 18 June 2019.
https://www.highland.gov.uk/cityregiondeal https://www.highland.gov.uk/news/article/11211/high-fi_for_ross-shire_towns_%E2%80%93_free_wifi_is_rolled_out_to_tain_alness_and_invergordon https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-40952107 https://www.highland.gov.uk/news/article/10634/ness_wifi_is_rolled_out_across_inverness_city_centre https://www.highland.gov.uk/site/high-fi/index.html