People wanting to use the internet in Manchester city centre can now do so free of charge from Friday.
A new free public wi-fi network is being set up across the city, backed by Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM).
The _FreebeeMcr network, run by media services firm Arqiva, will be launched in three phases.
The first phase, covering St Peter’s Square, Albert Square and Cross Street, has been launched.
The second phase, to follow in the spring, will take in transport hubs and stops along key routes used by train, bus and Metrolink passengers.
‘Leading digital city’
The final stage, expected to be launched in the summer, will extend services to other areas of the city with a high footfall such as district shopping centres.
A council spokesman said the service comes at no cost to the taxpayer.
It will offer up to 30 minutes of internet access and offer unlimited access to public sector websites such as the Manchester council website.
Nigel Murphy, executive member for environment at Manchester City Council, said: “Providing improved internet access for Manchester residents, businesses and visitors promotes social inclusion and economic growth.
“We want to ensure that Manchester residents and visitors get the most out of the city and giving them free wi-fi access will mean they have a wealth of information and services at their fingertips.
“This will make another important contribution towards our goal of ensuring that Manchester is one of the world’s leading digital cities.”
[Via BBC News]