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Haringey Borough Council and Arqiva team up to introduce free internet to borough's town centres
Haringey Borough Council and a telecoms company are teaming up to provide shoppers in the borough’s high streets with 30 minutes of free internet.
The contract between the council and Arqiva will be signed in a closed cabinet member signing meeting today at the Civic Centre in Wood Green.
Wi-Fi transmitters will be installed in lampposts in busy areas such as town centres, providing people with limited free internet.
The authority claims the scheme will not cost it any money, as all the costs will be incurred by Arqiva, but will instead earn the council a guaranteed income of £475,000 over ten years.
Details of exactly how much shoppers will be charged after the 30 minutes of free internet has expired has not yet been revealed and will not be confirmed until after the contract is signed.
Councillor Katherine Reece, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats expressed concerns about the vague plans and the lack of transparency.
She said: “We are concerned that the plans for W-Fi are vague and that local residents have not been consulted.
“The Lib Dems have asked the Labour run council where they plan to install the Wi-Fi equipment and how much it will cost to use the service when the free period runs out.
“They should be making an effort to talk to local people about the wifi plans.”
In April, Wandsworth Borough Council approved a similar scheme to with Arqiva which is due to be completely setup by May 2014.
That contract allowed unlimited free access to the Wandsworth council’s website, the central Government website and the website for the London Tourist Board.
The south London council said that by enabling free 24/7 access to its website it will be easier and more convenient for residents to access council tax services online.
It will also cuts costs and therefore help to keep council tax low and protect frontline services.
However unlike in Haringey, Wandsworth council received £500,000 at the beginning of the contract and will continue to get a share of any income generated through the scheme.
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