Glasgow Ranked Top Scottish City for Public Wifi

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Glasgow has been named Scotland’s top city for public WiFi access and fifth in a list of the UK’s top WiFi cities.

Scotland’s top city for free public WiFi has been named. According to a list compiled by mobile phone insurance provider, Insurance2Go, Glasgow narrowly beats Edinburgh coming fifth in the UK top ten list.

Members of the public have access to 475 WiFi hot-spots littered across the city in community centres, libraries and a host of other public places. Edinburgh ranked second in Scotland with 471 and was ranked just one place below Glasgow on the UK top ten list.

This makes Glasgow the fifth best city in the UK for the public to access WiFi, with London naturally taking the top spot with a whopping 9,269 locations.

Scotland’s two largest cities do still lag behind their English counterparts, however. Birmingham took second place with 620 locations and Leeds and Manchester ranked behind with 597 and 534 respectively.

This does read well for Scotland’s two biggest cities, however the rest are severely lacking in regards to public WiFi access. Dundee, Aberdeen and Stirling all trail behind Edinburgh and Glasgow with Dundee citizens having access to only 115 hot-spots, Stirling locals to 71 and Aberdeen to 126.

Despite these results, public perception indicates that the other cities are not doing too badly when it comes to coverage. DIGIT carried out its own exhaustive and in-depth survey on Twitter asking which Scottish city was best for public WiFi:

Despite an early lead from Stirling, Dundee stormed through to claim the title, with 34% of respondents claiming that the city had the country’s best public WiFi.

Scottish Public WiFi Up to Scratch?

The results of the UK survey raise serious questions about the rest of Scotland and its digital infrastructure.ย Scotland is more than just Edinburgh and Glasgow; other areas across the country that are lagging behind Scotland’s two largest cities may not have the same appeal to visitors or businesses if the adequate digital infrastructure is not in place.

The Scottish Government has placed an emphasis on improving public WiFi access alongside its’ efforts to improve national broadband coverage, and claim they intend to “deliverย free WiFi throughout major town and city centres across Scotland”. Similar schemes on a UK-wide level have also aimed to increase public WiFi access.

In 2014 the Westminster Government launched an initiative to invest over ยฃ150 million to solve this very issue. As part of the initiative, hundreds of public libraries and community centres across the UK were to have public WiFi networks installed, and since then many have reaped the rewards.

In Dundee, the Capital Investment Strategy – published in late 2017 – aimed to invest over ยฃ350 million in redevelopment of the city, with public WiFi and 5G readiness a heavy focus. With the redevelopment of the city waterfront the necessity of public WiFi access cannot be understated; the potential influx of visitors to the city will likely see a marked demand for WiFi access.

At the announcement of the strategy, Dundee Council Leader John Alexander said: โ€œWe are also thinking innovatively about strengthening the cityโ€™s infrastructure for years to come, and this will include the delivery of WiFi and 5G readiness in the Central Waterfront with the Scottish Futures Trust.

Aberdeen rolled out public WiFi in early 2017, and according to council leader Jenny Laing it would “future-proof the city for the next 30 years”.

The process of improving public WiFi access will not occur overnight, but more investment into the development of these hot-spots outside of big cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow has to be a focus of both national and local government.

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22nd March 2019

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