FREE wifi could be made available across Inverness city centre as one of the first projects under the proposed City Deal.
The UK Government announced yesterday it was making up to £3 million available for early projects, subject to satisfactory business cases being submitted.
The first tranche of cash could also be used to improve public access to the area around Inverness Castle, with more access points being opened up and the area landscaped in time for the opening of a viewing area in the North Tower next year.
It follows last week’s announcement that £100,000 has already been earmarked for Highland Council to help prepare its plans for a City Deal, which could deliver up to £300 million funding over 20 years.
The idea of providing free wifi by using council-owned buildings across the city centre to boost coverage is backed by the area’s Business Improvement District (Bid) and the new tourism Bid. It is intended to help business and enable tourists to immediately access information online to enhance their visit.
Announcing the provisional £3 million award yesterday, local MP and chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said a strong Inverness was central to the prosperity of the whole of Scotland.
"That’s why I’ve been working both within the Treasury and with Highland Council to ensure that Inverness gets the City Deal it needs, to boost tourism and its strength in the sciences and create secure, long-term jobs for people across the city.
"While completing the full City Deal will take more time, it’s great to secure these projects now.
"They demonstrate the UK government’s commitment to this process."
Currently, Glasgow is the only Scottish city to have been granted City Deal status.