The UK is only a small island…I’ve always wondered why, when it has been proposed entire cities like Philadelphia are to get free WiFi, it would be so hard for the UK to become WiFi covered and why it hasn’t happened yet?
Surely with more UK businesses trading online and an increasing number of online transactions, free WiFi would result in more transactions, translating into higher GDP, resulting in better economy?
Well, UK, we need wait no longer, finally it’s here, drum roll please:
Launched today in the North East of the UK, Freerunner is an open sourced free public WiFi network enabling consumers to get free broadband access in underserved and digitally remote areas of the UK.
Libraries, transport hubs, community centers and schools are a few of the public venues to receive the service free of charge, accessible from access points in both public and commercial venues.
Consumers will also be able to access Freerunner free of charge in commercial venues such as coffee shops, pubs and clubs as access will be funded by the venue and its partners, with the advantage being they pay for the service at just a third of the current rate set by operators.
The vision, from Founder and CEO of Freerunner Owen Geddes, is to readdress the balance between big brand venues and areas which are underserved.
Geddes says the service is not just the next generation user experience, it is the next generation of WiFi:
“Back in 2002, free, open access points were popping up all over the place and there was a real buzz about the potential of public WiFi.
“Since then, networks have been locked down and access for a day can cost more than your home broadband can cost in a month.”
Investment for the project comes in the form of The NorthStar Equity Investors (NSEI) who invested through their Prof of Concept Fund because the service will be directly benefiting the North East before the national roll out.
Tech Entrepreneurs, geeks and Twitter addicts will be celebrating all over the UK today as Freerunner gives them more access to the thing they love most: The Internet! Woohoo!
But most importantly it will be giving people, who otherwise might not have had the opportunity to access the greatness that is the World Wide Web, a chance to experience its wonders.
This is one small step for the North East, one giant leap for Nation kind.