Wifi scheme goes to tender


Dublin City Council unanimously agreed tonight to put a public wifi scheme for Dublin out to tender.

The tender should go out within a week.

The move means free wireless internet access will be available in city parks and busy thoroughfares.

Labour Party councillor Oisín Quinn proposed that the council examine the introduction of providing free wireless internet access using wifi in city parks and busy thoroughfares at a meeting last January.

“The city manager is bringing a report to us for our council meeting on Monday with a positive proposal to seek tenders for a public wifi scheme in certain designated public places in the city,” he said last week.

Although it is unclear which parks and streets would be covered by the scheme, the city council intends to keep the total cost below €200,000.

This would prevent it falling foul of EU state aid rules which scuppered a more ambitious free wifi scheme that the council proposed in 2007.

The council intends to take about three months to collect the tenders and assess them.

As well as providing wifi in a number of fixed public places, internet access might be provided on a temporary basis in other parts of the city to tie in with large events.

“The Tall Ships event in Dublin due to be held on August 23rd would be a great event to try out the event-specific wifi that we hope can be a feature of the scheme,” Mr Quinn added.

Even if the weather co-operates this summer, office workers will not be able to decamp to the city’s parks for long periods to avail of the scheme. This is because it is likely users will be limited to 30 minutes access for each session with broadband speeds of about 1Mbit/sec – equivalent to a basic home broadband service.

Mr Quinn proposed the scheme after seeing a similar one in operation in the Spanish city of Bilbao. He believes it could have a positive impact on tourism in the city.

The London boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster are working with mobile operator O2 to provide free internet access for next summer’s Olympic Games.

Separately Dublin Bus has been conducting trials of free wifi on some buses on the cross-city 16 bus route. The trial is being used to evaluate if it is viable to extend wireless internet access across the entire fleet of buses in the capital.