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Last week Edinburgh Council was asked to approve the award of a 10 year contract to bring free high-speed Wi-Fi to Edinburgh this summer. So should councils provide free public Wi-Fi? Is it really a justifiable expenditure in the current economic climate? At Blair Cadell we have been discussing the positive impact that such a move might have on the residential and commercial property market. Here are 5 reasons that free Wi-Fi is the way to go.

-          Free Wi-Fi in Edinburgh's city centre - on trams, buses and in key public buildings - would boost visitor numbers, and drive shoppers into the city centre.  It would also benefit tourists who would be able to navigate around the city without incurring massive roaming charges. A superconnected city is a city that people want to visit, live in and work in.

-          Free Wifi gives the city a competitive advantage. Given the choice most businesses would locate their operations in a Superconnected city rather than a regular one. We all appreciate complimentary extras.

-          One of the unique things about Edinburgh's city centre is its residential flavour. Many people to choose to live right in the heart of the action. Safe, secure and free access to wi-fi at all times could only benefit the value of city-centre properties. This also applies to areas like Stockbridge, Shandon and Marchmont, which will experience a knock on effect.

-          Easy access to Wi-Fi may help to connect people and change the way we use community space. For example, those who cannot afford internet access or older people who perhaps struggle to engage with today's interconnected generation will experience less obstacles to participation.

-          Free Wi-Fi during festival time will mean that foreign visitors will be able to instantly discuss, review and celebrate their experiences with the wider world. As advertising goes, it doesn't get much better than instantaneous global coverage. Plus - New York, Paris and Madrid already have free wi-fi, so why don't we?!

(image:waydadreamscape/FlickrCC)

Blair Cadell are a leading firm of Edinburgh solicitors, dealing in a wide range of property, business, tax and personal legal services.