More community buildings in Leeds set to offer free Wi-Fi as part of push to provide internet for all

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Council bosses in Leeds have announced switched-on plans to introduce free Wi-Fi in another 20 community buildings in the city.

Leeds City Council has already made free Wi-Fi available in most of the buildings it owns as part of a programme that aims to deliver online access opportunities for as many local residents as possible.

Now it is set to extend the service into non-council community buildings, with work currently under way to establish which sites would provide the widest benefit.

An announcement on the 20 chosen locations is due later this year but the focus is expected to be on areas where free public connectivity to the internet is limited.

The council’s expansion of its 100% Digital Leeds programme has also seen the doubling in size of a tablet-lending project and the launch of a grants scheme that is designed to help small organisations remove barriers to digital inclusion for staff and customers.

A total of £400,000 in funding for the new measures has come from the Leeds City Region Business Rates Pool.

Coun James Lewis, the council’s executive member for resources and sustainability, said: “Digital inclusion, support and learning can make a significant difference to help tackle poverty and reduce inequalities and is very much in line with the council’s vision of a compassionate city with a strong economy.

“I’m delighted that the extra investment from the business rates fund will help us to support the 100% Digital Leeds movement so that even more of our residents can benefit from being online.

“Freely accessible Wi-Fi has proved to be incredibly popular in council buildings so we are excited to be able to offer it to even more people across the city.”