Headlines: October 2nd, 2007

Birmingham City Council has launched the country’s first openly accessible free information zone. Birminghamfiz, developed in partnership with BT, takes the city into a new digital era, officially becoming a BT Wireless City. The system will give free access to information specifically about Birmingham.

It has been designed by Digital Birmingham and will mean people with laptops, mobile phones, hand-held computers and gaming devices that use wireless broadband can access information and services from the City Council free of charge. It is available to local people and businesses as well as visitors, using BT’s OpenZone network within the city centre.

Chris Price, director of Digital Birmingham, said birminghamfiz had great potential.
“It’s very much work in progress and what’s available now is only the tip of the iceberg. We’re actively developing phase two which will include music and video clips plus commercial aspects such as booking tickets online,” he added.

The launch of widespread Wi-Fi coverage in the city centre follows Birmingham Council’s pioneering agreement with BT. The new network covers an area taking in key retail, business and leisure zones as well as Aston University and the Millennium Point building which houses Birmingham City University’s Technology Innovation Centre. The city council believes the launch is an important step towards its aim to become Europe’s leading digital city by 2010.