Super Connected City
Derry/Londonderry
UK
Derry City & Strabane District Council
Dimension
Infrastructure

Derry’s Super Connected City vision and strategy comprised of three interdependent projects to develop a city-wide digital infrastructure: Voucher Scheme; Public Realm Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi in Public Buildings

 

Voucher scheme

Public Realm Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi in public buildings

What?

Voucher system to make broadband more affordable to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)

Improved access to Wi-Fi services in the public realm

The creation of Wi-Fi zones in public buildings.

Why?

To help SMEs get connected, or improve their current connection to broadband.

To accelerate economic growth across Derry~Londonderry

To increase digital engagement and energise cultural and economic activity.

Where?

Available to SMEs and social enterprises within the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.

High footfall areas, such as the city centre, where demand for high capacity wireless access is greatest.

Available to all public buildings in partnership with landlords.

In December 2010, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries jointly launched the Government’s National Broadband Strategy: ‘Britain’s Superfast Broadband Future’. The strategy set out the Government’s vision for broadband in the UK, which was to ensure the UK had the best Superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015.

The Chancellor announced investment of GBP150 million across 22 cities which collectively made up the Urban Broadband Fund (UBF) programme. The common theme across cities, in line with the Government objectives, was a desire to increase service take‐up – with a particular focus on SMEs as a means to support economic growth. In investing in cities the Government was looking to the private sector to provide wider investment including accelerating the adoption of ultrafast connectivity.

The UBF programme aimed to invest in broadband infrastructure against shared, common objectives across cities. Objectives of the investment included:

  1. Delivering part of the UK’s commitment to the EU2020 Digital Agenda2. The EU2020 target was internet speeds of 30Mbps or above (superfast or NGA) for all European citizens, with half European households subscribing to connections of 100Mbps or higher (ultrafast);

  2. Driving economic growth by enabling businesses to compete in wider national and global markets, using ultrafast technology;

  3. Enabling increased individual mobility in cities, with the development of contiguous wireless enabled city centres;

  4. Supporting the public sector Digital by Default agenda;

  5. Further developing competitive markets in network and broadband provision, with the aim of ensuring that sustainable, innovative products are created to utilise new broadband infrastructure.

In October 2013 Derry City Council received a Letter of Offer confirming £2.2 million by way of grant for the Super Connected City Programme. The Project activity can be summarised under the 3 distinct strands as detailed below:

The Voucher Scheme provided financial support towards the cost of high-speed Broadband connections, it offered grants between £250 and £3000 (excluding VAT) to cover the installation cost of the connection. The aim of the programme was to allow local businesses to boost connectivity and take advantage of the benefits of doing business online, including:

Reaching new markets – sell online to customers worldwide

  • Faster upload – upload images and videos in a fraction of the time that you are currently used to

  • Cloud Computing - make the most of cloud storage with superfast upload and download speeds

  • Increased flexible working - reduced business travel and commuting

  • Interacting instantly and reduce telephony costs – speak to colleagues, customers and suppliers worldwide with video and VoIP calls

  • Future-proofing your business with the latest technology to meet your customers’ needs

Over 200 vouchers were issued in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.

The Public Wi-Fi in buildings element of SCCP was valued at £500k and incorporated the creation of Wi-Fi zones in over 60 public buildings including leisure facilities and museums, community centres etc. The aim of this element of the programme was to increase digital engagement and energise cultural and economic activity in these areas.

The Wireless Concession element of the programme was valued at £700k and aimed to provide Wi-Fi access in high footfall areas, such as the city centre, where demand for high capacity wireless access was greatest. The scope of works included:

1.Installation of 50+ no. Wi-Fi nodes (802.11N capable)

2.Configuration of the Wi-Fi network including:

  • Registration of all public users

  • Details to be kept secure

  • Monitoring what each user is doing

  • Blocking access to unwanted or unsavoury sites

  • Reporting on each user’s activity as required

  • Reporting on monthly usage for the entire network

3. Providing registered users with 1 hour free Wi-Fi access with capability to roam to any access point without having to re-register

4. Functionality to allow log-in via social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn

Over 200 broadband connection vouchers were issued

Over 60 buildings were Wi-Fi enabled, with usage reports and statistical analysis available on a building by building basis.

Over 50 external Wi-Fi nodes were installed as part of the Public Wi-Fi element of the programme, with usage reports and statistical analysis on types of devices accessing the network etc.