The next-generation wireless service from IntechnologyWiFi offers blanket, seamless connectivity for users. This is unlike the sporadic, patchy and expensive experience of hotspots.
The wireless network will deliver a new digital dimension to the town’s economic and social wellbeing.
It will also provide a new connectivity platform for high-tech applications to improve the quality of life for local residents as part of the emerging Smart City and Internet of Things industries.
These could include schemes to improve parking intelligence and waste collection by using connected devices to gather and analyse data.
Cllr Trevor Byford, Executive Councillor for Technology, said: “For our economy to flourish, we need to be at the cutting edge of new technology and we are committed to delivering new infrastructure to support innovation and enterprise.
“Local businesses will be able to use the network to better engage with customers, adopt new technology and become more productive.
“The network will improve the overall visitor experience in the town and help Southend-on-Sea compete as an attractive destination for retail and leisure.
“It will also increase social inclusion by making the internet free and accessible to anyone in the area of coverage.”
Further information on the WiFi service can be found at www.southendfreewifi.com.
Accompanying the wireless network will be the launch of a clever new mobile application, called Citi-Wise, for residents and visitors to quickly find restaurants, attractions new, exciting and offbeat activities in and around Southend. Citi-Wise will also support future services deployed through the wireless network.
Digital exclusion is becoming a social problem for Britain with an estimated 5.3m adults who have never used the internet.
The forthcoming service in Southend will provide residents with better access to key services and employment and education opportunities.
Natalie Duffield, chief executive of IntechnologyWiFi, said: “Our free-to-use network will provide universal connectivity to everyone in Southend-on-Sea, helping them to feel more connected and engaged, whether they are residents or visitors, and allowing them to access the services and benefits available in the digital world.
“Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is a forward-looking organisation and we are excited about working in partnership to realise its vision to support economic development, local businesses, community engagement and social and digital inclusion.”
The free-to-use service is being rolled out in September. There is no charge to the taxpayer.
IntechnologyWiFi works with local authorities across the UK to offer a ‘digital window to the city’ to engage with users and provide services to support and encourage social and economic activities and the growth of the digital economy.
The platform is made up of six elements: blanket, seamless connectivity; a lifestyle mobile application called Citi-Wise; a data and analytics engine; small cell access nodes and 5G readiness; research and innovation growth and brand partnerships.
Southend Council has granted IntechnologyWiFi a concession to deploy, monitor and maintain wireless equipment on street furniture and buildings owned by the local authority and partners in the town centre.