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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Case study: Wi-fi in Norwich
The BBC News website spoke to Peter Boyce, a TV and satellite signal engineer in Norwich who already feels the city's free wi-fi service is changing his working life.

From a commercial point of view everybody is now using the internet. We have maintenance contracts for housing societies here in Norwich, and the internet means that when they need work done they can now send an e-mail and place an order.

Peter Boyce
Peter Boyce feels his business is benefiting from the wi-fi connection
For my business, things really changed at the end of last year. My paper diary was falling apart, so I just bit the bullet and spent money on a PDA. Now I can't do without it.

We have always relied on mobile phones to keep in touch with things while we work, but the PDA can do so much more. One time I was putting a new TV system into an apartment and there was an e-mail asking us to look at a building down the road, and we could get there very quickly.

A lot of the time you're contacting people and they don't realise you're sitting on a rooftop.

Even though the wi-fi system is quite new it's proving to be a very handy addition to our arsenal of systems
The growth of the business over the past 12 months has been considerable. The internet has enabled me to take on staff and still stay in the field.

Even though the wi-fi system in Norwich is quite new it's proving to be a very handy addition to the arsenal of systems we use. It's a good alternative to a 3G or GPRS connection, and it's cheaper.

We haven't had any problems with it, and at the moment I use it about once a day, here in the city centre. You have to check a certificate the first time you use the service but after that it's simple.

It is like anything else in this commercial world: I can't see how something can be totally free forever. But as soon as people see the additional benefits I don't think they will mind paying a small charge.




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