Have you ever dreamed of having free wireless broadband on buses? Imagine that blissful experience – scrolling through websites, looking up bus schedules, tweeting and whatever else comes to mind… Well, if you live in South Hampshire, your dreams are coming true as you are reading this.
Hampshire County Council‘s (HCC) has secured funds of £4.5m along with additional money from Black Velvet Travel, Stagecoach and Go South Coast and First to rollout Wi-Fi across 565 local buses. Start date? This month!
Councillor Mel Kendal, Chairman of Transport for South Hampshire, said in the accompanying statement:
“By the end of August the first-phase of work to install free Wi-Fi on buses across South Hampshire will have been completed for services in Southampton and the surrounding area, including parts of Test Valley, Winchester, Eastleigh and the Waterside.
“This investment, added to other successful bids for Local Sustainable Transport Funding for this area, will bring significant transport improvements for all forms of road-based travel.”
This leads Broadbandwatcher to say that as nifty the Wi-Fi aspect is, it is not the core objective of the initiative. The money will also go to generally improve transport, how timetables are communicated (i.e. updates on smartphones) as well as refurbishing buses. It has been calculated that the wireless broadband side will cost £900,000 for two years.