DUBLIN City Council is seeking a private operator to roll out free wifi in parks across the capital, it emerged today.
Web browsing may become a regular activity in Dublin's parks and green spaces after council management gave the green light to a Labour Party motion.
Parks such as St Stephen's Green and Merrion Square may be equipped with free internet facilities as early as July -- a move that is tipped to boost visitor numbers in the capital.
The project would make Dublin the first Irish city to roll out a free wifi network.
As first revealed by the Herald, Labour Party councillor Oisin Quinn tabled a motion last month to roll out free wifi in the city.
It has now emerged that the plan has been given the green light by John Tierney -- with councillors expected to formally pass the proposal next week.
A report carried out by Mr Tierney recommends that the scheme would involve the tendering for a private operator to roll out and operate the service.
It was revealed today that the council is willing to fork out €200,000 to equip parks with free wifi. Cllr Quinn told the Herald that the move would provide a "tremendous boost to the city".
"Free public wifi has been a huge success in several European cities. It has massive potential to boost visitor numbers in the city and it would provide the next step to modernising the city. These days, many people need fast and free access to the web when they are on the go," he said.
"Social networking, checking emails and seeing what's happening nearby are all things people like to do while having a coffee, browsing shops or having a sandwich during a lunch break. The city centre is a great place to go. Adding free public wifi is the next step."
If the motion is passed, the council will advertise a contract for tender within days.
Users are expected to be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes usage at any one time.
The free internet may also be provided in a number of locations outside of parks to coincide with upcoming events such as the Tall Ships festival.