A free public wifi scheme will be operational at Dundee waterfront by the end of July, it has been revealed.
Mike Galloway, executive director of city development, has given assurances the service will start with a temporary setup for Slessor Gardens by July 31, with a wider area operational before the new V&A opens on September 15.
Mr Galloway further confirmed provision for Union Street, Crichton Street, Castle Street and Reform Street will be operational by September 7, with a permanent solution for Slessor Gardens expected to be in place by November 16.
However, he said the work was still “out for tender”, adding that dates may have to be revised slightly when a preferred bidder has been appointed.
It is understood no specific timelines have been given for introducing free wifi to the City Square area, although all firms bidding to provide the service have stated this should be completed by the end of the year.
Paul Jennings, chairman of Visit Dundee, said the free wifi being available in time for the V&A’s opening was “brilliant” news and “could create real economic benefits” for the city.
“From a tourism standpoint, we’re going to be looking at an influx of visitors to Dundee and I think them being able to access information on the move is going to be key,” he said.
“If you look at the idea of wayfinding, having that ability to access content live – whether it’s nearby restaurants, shops or other attractions – could be really useful in terms of providing a boost for the local economy.
“I actually think it would be very beneficial to have it across an even wider stretch of the city so hopefully when these initial stages have been rolled out, we can look at extending it even further.”
A working group established last year involving the council’s IT and city development departments, along with representation from the Scottish Futures Trust, has been working to drive the initiative forward.
City councillor Fraser Macpherson welcomed confirmation of their progress and agreed the service could provide a “boon” for the city.
“Going back as far as 2014, I highlighted the need for Dundee to progress free public wifi for the city centre. Many cities are discovering free wifi is a good way to attract more visitors,” he said.
“Already local businesses from coffee shops, hotels and restaurants, churches and bars are among the locations discovering the value of offering free wireless but a city centre wide wifi facility would be a boon for our city.
“It will be rolled out in phases but the direction of travel on this issue is extremely positive.”