Greater Manchester’s ambition to become a top 20 worldwide digital city region has taken a major step forward with the rollout of free, superfast wifi to Metrolink trams.
The £1.7 million scheme means that Metrolink customers can now surf the web for free on all 96 trams, which join the 20 buses running the free city centre Metroshuttle service.
The move is part of an innovative £7.25m scheme being run by Manchester City Council, Salford City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) – with funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Thanks to the scheme, Manchester and Salford are also providing superfast free wifi in public buildings right across the cities.
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “Metrolink is not only the largest light rail network in the UK, but now also the first light railway in England to become fully wifi capable, symbolising the region’s digital ambitions.
“With over 30 million passenger trips made on Metrolink every year, this will help hundreds of thousands of people make the best use of their travel time with quick and simple access to free wifi.”
Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid MP, said: “I’m delighted that Manchester has taken up the challenge to become one of the UK’s Superconnected Cities as part of the Government programme. It’s vital that our cities have the digital infrastructure – like superfast broadband and wifi – in place to deal with the demands of the digital age. Our investment in Manchester and Salford has delivered a welcome boost to the local economy, and is all part of our long term economic plan.”
Metrolink customers need to complete a very quick and simple registration the first time they use free wifi, and can sit back and enjoy surfing the web for free. Go to www.metrolink.co.uk/wifi to find out more.