FREE wi-fi is now available in a city's streets and public spaces in a Scottish first.

Residents and visitors in Glasgow will have free 24-hour access to the urban wireless network for the next eight years through a partnership between BT and the city council.

BT is delivering the wi-fi infrastructure, with wireless access points installed around high footfall areas and transport hubs in the city centre and parts of the east end, as well as in community centres.

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The next phase of the city's wireless network will be rolled out from early 2015, extending coverage more widely in the city, which has one of the UK's lowest levels of broadband take-up.

Council leader Gordon Matheson said: "Today is a special day, when Glasgow becomes the first Scottish city to offer free wi-fi, further underlining our status as a place willing to use technology to bring social, educational and economic benefits to our residents and businesses."

Delivery is based on a concession model, meaning access to the wireless network in the city comes through the lease of council-owned street furniture and property, with the authority providing a licence to allow a network operator to build a wireless network.

This means the council does not have to make any investment, with the network being designed, built and operated by the private sector.

Any subsequent support, maintenance, upgrading and monitoring will come at no cost to the council.