£1.5 million announced to boost free Wi-Fi in public spaces

Additional funding is being made available to extend Wi-Fi in Scotland’s libraries, as part of the public wireless programme, it was announced today (11/08/2015). 

The £1.5 million funding for 2015/16 is part of the Scottish Government’s wider drive to enhance digital participation, improve rural connectivity and the uptake of online public services across Scotland.


Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited Ullapool library in the MacPhail Centre ahead of the cabinet meeting and public discussion to see at first-hand the impact of the public library Wi-Fi programme to date.

He wanted to find out how people are benefitting from freely available connectivity and met trainers and participants in a ‘Get To Know Your Techno’ group, an innovative digital participation initiative which has seen young people teach older people digital skills and the benefits of being online.

Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, said:

“It’s wonderful to be here in Ullapool to announce our public wireless programme which includes a second phase of funding for free public Wi-Fi in libraries. This supports the promotion of the wider economic, social and cultural benefits from public spaces and has the potential to attract new audiences to our public libraries.

“Helping libraries and other public spaces to provide free connectivity will be increasingly important as the use of smartphones and tablets continues to increase and the appetite for internet access on the move grows.

“Libraries don’t just provide access to reading material they play a crucial role in providing access to IT, improving attainment, supporting children in the early years and empowering communities. We want to help libraries to empower communities, tackle inequality and boost the economy, as well as provide more people with opportunities to learn and to experience local heritage and culture.

“The latest research from Ofcom shows that more Scots than ever before are using smart devices to access the internet - almost 40% say their smartphone is their main way of accessing the internet and indicates that half the adults in Scotland own a tablet.The Scottish Government is committed to improving and extending access to public Wi-Fi in support of our world class digital vision where people can connect anywhere, with any device, at any time by 2020.

“Ullapool is already benefitting from free public Wi-Fi and the ‘Get To Know Your Techno’ group is a great example of how easier access to Wi-Fi improves digital participation across our communities and can bring younger and older members of the community together.”

Source: Scottish Government

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