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Free WiFi for 12 city centre hotspots

DUBLIN'S new WiFi hotspots are set to include O'Connell Street and Temple Bar.

Up to 12 spots in Dublin city centre, with parks and key tourist areas, form the core of the free wireless internet service proposed by Dublin city council.

Dubliners and tourists will be able to check Facebook, get directions or send emails from smartphones and laptops from areas such as Temple Bar and outside the GPO.

Bidders for the service are being asked to also provide access for one-off and recurring events in the city such as St Patrick's Festival and the Tall Ships Festival.

The 12 areas for WiFi access listed in the tender documents are:

- Smithfield

- Barnados Square

- Claredon Street

- St Patrick's Park

- O'Connell Street Plaza/GPO

- Temple Bar Square

- Wolfe Tone Square

- Frontage to the Convention Centre

- Merrion Square

- Henry Street

- Grafton Street (once the current works planned in the Grafton Street area are over)

- Amphitheatre at Wood Quay

Dublin City Council does not intend to pay for the service - meaning it will have to be entirely funded by the service provider.

Bids must be submitted for the service by May 1 next.

The city council is proposing to award the concession to the winning service provider for an initial five years.

Either side can end the contract after three years once they give six months notice.

Bidders will have to provide an initial free service, but the terms do not preclude them from charging for longer periods of WiFi access.

"An essential part of the WiFi concession is that a sufficient amount of free time with excellent quality of service is provided," said the city council documents.

Companies seeking to tender must be profitable, have a minimum turnover of €500,000 and have completed similar wireless broadband projects in past three years.

The council says it will award the contract for the WiFi service in July.