Manchester aims to create Europe's largest Wi-Fi network

Manchester is the latest location to jump on the Wi-Fi bandwagon, but its plans could outdo those of its peers if its aim to create a connected environment the size of all other UK city networks combined is successful.

If everything goes to plan, Manchester could eventually boast the largest single city broadband wireless areas in Europe, touching 2.2 million people and covering 90 per cent of Greater Manchester and its surrounding boroughs.

The city's council has kicked off the process by requesting information and comment, in addition to announcing that it plans to host an open day on December 15 to gauge local opinion and garner ideas.

News of Manchester's wireless ambitions come as the city prepares to enter the Government's Digital Challenge initiative, with the aim of getting its hands on up to 3 million worth of funding.

The council will press ahead with its Wi-Fi aims regardless of whether it wins the competition.

But, the Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA), which is leading the wireless charge, hopes that the initiative it is demonstrating with this plan will be recognised by the awarding panel.

"We have been inspired in our plans by the success of wireless and broadband networks in other leading cities around the world, such as San Francisco and Amsterdam," said Sir Richard Leese, Manchester City Council's leader.

"We are initially hoping to establish a 100 square mile area covered by the network, with this increasing to up to 400 square miles in the future."

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.