Lambeth lamposts to host new borough-wide wifi

Lampposts in Brixton

Lambeth council is set to provide a borough-wide wifi service that would include the use of lampposts to house the equipment to provide it.

It had planned to test such a scheme in Brixton town centre following a feasibility study in July 2015, but could not generate enough interest to get tenders for this limited area.

In a report, the council says that providing the service will not cost it anything. Arqiva, the company providing the service, will pay the council £250,000 when the contact starts on 1 June this year and invest £2.25 million in the infrastructure needed to provide wifi across the borough.

The council believes the scheme will attract more businesses to the borough and lay foundations for “innovative digital information and communication technologies that could be used to support health, social and community benefit”.

Lambeth has been identified as a key area of the UK with mobile network coverage problems.

Arqiva provides much of the infrastructure behind television, radio, satellite and wireless communications in the UK and has 8,000 mobile phone masts. It provides services to broadcasters including the BBC, ITV and Sky, as well as mobile network operators and the emergency services.

The lampposts that will be used for the wifi service are managed by the French company Bouygues under a private finance initiative scheme.

The council will receive 20% of the revenue from the 10-year contract, although the report does not explain how it will be generated.