Internet services group Onyx is leading an initiative aimed at making wireless internet (Wi-Fi) access widely available across Newcastle.
The Middlesbrough-based group, which added Newcastle data security centre DataBanx to its portfolio four years ago, hopes the scheme will help bring Newcastle in line with other major cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester.
Working with Manchester- based Wi-Fi technology partner MyZones - and supported by a number of local sponsors including TSG, RMT Accountants, Bowey Homes, transport operator Nexus, The B Group and The Gate - Onyx has already established a number of key access areas within Newcastle City Centre.
Onyx Group's sales and marketing director Neil Stephenson said: "Companies are being encouraged to implement more flexible working practices for employees so that they can benefit from increased performance, higher levels of efficiency and greater employee satisfaction.
"Developing a wireless connectivity infrastructure across Newcastle will help local businesses to take advantage of these unique benefits.
"We have been overwhelmed by the support that we have received from local sponsors such as TSG and Nexus and the professional vision they have demonstrated in helping to make this initiative a reality.
"Businesses such as hotels, cafes and bars that wish to participate in the scheme will be able to earn a revenue share from voucher sales from those wishing to log on to the network.
"Promoting wireless internet access within their premises will also encourage greater footfall, generating further incremental revenue."
Wi-Fi access is particularly beneficial to people on the move who wish to stay connected, using a laptop, PDA, mobile phone or even gaming device.
This initiative also offers the potential for increasing revenue for other businesses across the city.
Access to the Newcastle Wi-Fi network currently costs from £5 per hour or from £10 per day. All that is needed to get connected is a portable wireless-enabled device and a credit card.
* For further information visit www.onyx-group.net