The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has outlined its upcoming plans for the Urban Broadband Fund, bringing new Wi-Fi hotspots to UK cities.
A CCTV camera or street lamp could become a new Wi-Fi hotspot as part of the £150 million DCMS Urban Broadband Fund plan, which will introduce hotspots to so-called “street furniture”.
As part of the Super-Connected Cities programme, the DCMS Urban Broadband Fund is earmarked for creating UK cities that offer 80Mbps or faster internet connections.
The DCMS policy paper outlines the cities where officials should invest in setting up these public Wi-Fi hotspots on street furniture, which could include CCTV camera, lampposts, traffic lights or even benches.
This Wireless Concession Contract plan would allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to install Wi-Fi hotspots on these street items, which would in turn let them collect “fees and revenues”.
It is not known whether this money would come from council tax payments or directly from users paying to log in.
The Urban Broadband Fund could also be used to improve the availability of Wi-Fi hotspots in public buildings like libraries, museums and council offices.
It could also be used to fund Wi-Fi services on public transport in the UK, including buses, trains and the London Underground.
Virgin Media has already introduced Wi-Fi on the London Underground, which can be used for free by Virgin customers and also those using O2, Vodafone and select other network providers.
The Super-Connected Cities programme will also allow local businesses to apply for vouchers to cover the cost of fibre broadband installations.
The UK government was recently criticised for its slow rural broadband rollout, as its plans were two years late and £207 million short in funding.
If the DCMS manages to install Wi-Fi hotspots in something like a CCTV camera, wouldn’t this just be a further move towards a 1984-esque Big Brother state? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comment below.
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