The Internet hotspots across Tyneside will be provided by Spanish connectivity firm Gowex, which has already worked across America, Europe and the Middle East on “smart city” projects.
The contract between the firm and Newcastle and Gateshead local authorities requires Gowex to install connection hotspots by the beginning of 2015.
The free Wi-Fi scheme comes as part of Newcastle’s Broadband Delivery UK-funded Go Digital Newcastle scheme, launched in February this year.
“People will be able to connect to the Wi-Fi hotspots around city and town centre, high streets and public buildings – free of charge,” claimed Cllr Nick Forbes, Newcastle City Council leader.
“It means they can check their emails, compare prices, select restaurants, book tickets and access public information on the move,” he added.
“This is a fantastic boost for businesses, visitors and residents. This scheme offering free Wi-Fi in key public areas confirms our commitment to being at the forefront of the digital revolution,” claimed Cllr Malcolm Graham, cabinet member for employment and skills at Gateshead Council.
The current streetlight contractors in Newcastle and council staff in Gateshead will carry out installation and maintenance work.
Forbes claims each authority is happy with this arrangement because local workers who know the area will be equipped and trained to perform work to a high standard.
“The funding that government has made available to Newcastle will see free Wi-Fi spots pop up in public areas across the city, allowing everyone access to broadband while on the move,” claimed communications Minister Ed Vaizey.
“It is all part of the remarkable transformation of connectivity currently underway,” he added.