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Virgin Media provides free Wi-Fi to Leeds and Bradford

Virgin Media Business will begin its rollout of the ‘super-connected cities’ initiative in Leeds and Bradford, after being awarded the right to provide nation’s first wireless concessions outside of the capital.

The network will be operated by partner company Global Reach Technology and run along Virgin’s fibre network.

1.2 million people will benefit from the free service which entails small cell transmitters being placed in the cities’ lampposts to provide public access to 4G and Wi-Fi. The new service is expected to go live before the New Year at Bridge Street in Bradford and Briggate in Leeds, with Millennium Square in Leeds and City Park in Bradford set to follow suit early in 2013.

“Small cells can transform the mobile experience by providing the connectivity needed to match the explosive broadband demand from the rapidly growing number of smartphones and tablets,” said Kevin Baughan, director of wireless, Virgin Media Business.

“In Leeds and Bradford, we’re working with both the local authorities and mobile operators to put in place the infrastructure that will give residents, consumers and businesses access to the wireless connectivity that they need,” he added.

This deal will be the first to use public funds of about £150 million allocated for the provisioning of fast broadband in 10 cities.

“These projects in Leeds and Bradford are an important step towards making the vision of super-connected cities a reality and enabling future prosperity and innovation,” said Baughan.