Surf while you shop as Briggate launches free Wi-Fi

Briggate becomes one of the first city centre retail areas in the country to offer free Wi-Fi from tomorrow, allowing Leeds Christmas visitors to surf while they shop.

The city’s main shopping street will offer visitors free internet access thanks to a collaboration between Leeds City Council and Virgin Media Business. And unlike some public arrangements where it is only free for the first quarter or half hour, the Leeds Free Wi-Fi will remain free for as long as the user is connected.

It will not just be the Christmas retail trade that will benefit as the scheme is part of a permanent push to enable easy online access to residents, visitors and businesses in Leeds. It will be available on Briggate from Wednesday 19 December, followed by installation in Millennium Square in early 2013.


Where: Briggate, outside the entrance to the Victoria Quarter

When: Wednesday 19 December, 2pm

Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan and Councillor Neil Walshaw, lead member for infrastructure and planning, will join Kevin Baughan, Virgin Media Business’s director of wireless and Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO of AQL, who are building a new £43 million data centre in Leeds, along with David Laycock, chair of the Leeds Retail Association, to live tweet from the launch of the free Briggate Wi-Fi.

Contact Donna Cox (details below) for further information.

The service will be run by Virgin Media Business under an agreement that ensures there is no cost or risk to the council and has put in place the infrastructure for the Wi-Fi connectivity in conjunction with its partner, Global Reach Technology.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for development and the economy, Leeds City Council, said:

“Leeds is going to be one of the first places in the country to have a free city centre Wi-Fi service and it will be a fantastic asset to shoppers and a tremendous boost to businesses.

“This is an opportunity to maintain and improve our competitive edge, attract investment and create employment. Leeds is leading the way in ensuring that our digital infrastructure is in place to make the most of future developments and helping push forward our ambition to be the best city to live in, invest in and visit in the UK.”

Kevin Baughan, director of wireless, Virgin Media Business, commented:

“We’re extremely proud to be providing the network that’s delivering super-fast Wi-Fi to shoppers and businesses on Briggate. The technology is not only benefitting citizens now; we’re working with the city council to ensure it’s used to prepare Leeds for the future. These services provide a sustainable and future-proof boost to connectivity in Leeds, helping the city prepare to for the next-generation of data-hungry tablets and smartphone devices.

“A lot of people might have heard government officials discussing the idea of filling the UK with ‘super-connected’ cities. Leeds is among the first to be taking real steps towards unlocking the potential that new technology has to offer, in order to deliver exciting mobile services to its citizens.”

The high performance Wi-Fi service will be free for anybody to use and is operated for Virgin Media Business by its partner Global Reach Communications Ltd, powered by Virgin Media’s fibre network. Further locations are being looked at in the city centre over the coming year.

People wishing to use the free Wi-Fi will be able to set smartphones, tablets or laptops to locate the ‘Leeds Free Wi-Fi’ service and then follow a simple registration process.

The development paves the way for a potentially expanding Wi-Fi network and also the deployment of next generation 3G and ultimately 4G ‘small cell’ wireless networks, which will transform mobile access and meet the growing use of smartphones and tablets in the city.

For media enquiries please contact:

Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335

email: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk