Westminster first of BT’s wireless cities to become a reality

BT has announced an agreement to roll out a high speed wireless broadband network which will bring benefits for Westminster City Council’s services, mobile workers, the business community and residents.

The Wireless City will be the first for BT of the initial phase of 12 across the UK to roll-out city-wide, taking in the West End shopping area and the heart of Government.

The city council has signed an agreement with Vertex Data Science Ltd, who will work with BT to develop applications running over the wireless broadband network, which will improve the flow of information and services across the city. In addition to the city council’s service, BT will expand the network to offer extensive wireless broadband coverage in most areas of the city in the next couple of years.

Mobile workers, such as environmental health officers, will be able to file reports on the move from their laptop or digital handheld device, or securely access the council intranet remotely.

BT has said it will roll out the first 12 Wireless Cities by the end of March 2007. Westminster is furthest advanced with its plans and roll out of the street-based network, following a successful pilot. The parts of the network which do not support council services will be funded by BT.

Steve Andrews, BT Group, chief of Mobility and Convergence, said: “Westminster has been at the forefront of this project and the city council has enthusiastically grasped the benefits of a Wireless City for the council, businesses community and residents. Flexible working will help them and their large mobile workforce to get the most out of the wireless network.

“The Wireless Cities project is part of our strategy to ensure customers are always best connected, wherever they are and using whatever device they want. When we launch Wi-Fi phones for BT Fusion shortly there will be whole areas of many cities where customers will be able to make calls and access their personal or business applications whilst on the move.”

Councillor Colin Barrow, of Westminster City Council, said: “This will allow us to deliver our goals for community safety by supporting a more flexible and adaptable CCTV network.

“Through wireless technology, Westminster will be a better place to live and work; the council will be more efficient, and be able to keep the streets safer.”

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