The ‘CambWifi’ service has been developed by ‘Connecting Cambridgeshire’, a partnership of Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and the University of Cambridge among others.
The partners said the new service means "users will be able to enjoy seamless connectivity as they move around the city".
Thanks to a "single service set identifier" people only need to log onto the network once. Their device will automatically reconnect whenever they are in a public WiFi location. The partners promised the network will be extended to other parts of the county soon.
The project received funding from the central government’s £150 million Urban Broadband Fund, which aims to bring faster connectivity to cities.
The service will run over the Cambridgeshire Public Services Network (CPSN), which connects over 400 public service sites including schools, local authority offices and emergency services.
CPSN has been run by Virgin Media Business since 2012 and is 50 percent cheaper than the network it replaced, according to the council.
‘Connecting Cambridgeshire’ is tasked boosting connectivity throughout the county and supporting the local economy.
The partners have promised to provide superfast broadband to at least 90 percent of local homes and businesses by the end of this year.
They are working together to overcome challenges such as ensuring there is sufficient bandwidth to meet growing demand across the county, for example by engineering lamp posts to host WiFi hotspots.
“We recognised that a great deal of work goes on outside of the libraries and departments and, thanks to our close working relationships with business and the councils, we have been able to expand while keeping the technology discrete within one of Cambridge’s most beautiful parks,” said Jon Holgate, the University of Cambridge’s head of network.
A number of cities across the UK are also set to get free public WiFi over the coming months, including York, Glasgow, Leeds and Cardiff.
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