Public Services > Central Government

GDS to introduce Wifi service for all of government

David Bicknell Published 14 December 2016

New service, named GovWifi, is currently in private beta test and will be available in government buildings early in 2017


The Government Digital Service (GDS) is implementing a Wifi service across all of government which is due to come into operation early next year.

The service, newly named GovWifi , is in private beta and is currently being tested with end users across government as well as with staff responsible for implementing the service.  It is currently available only in public sector organisations taking part in the private beta.

A GDS blog has discussed the process of naming a government Wifi service, having considered a number of options such as UKWifi, GovSecure, GovWifi, GetOnline and HMGovernment.

The service will apply to public sector buildings and allow civil servants, contractors and guests to sign in to Wifi automatically, even if they have not been in a particular building before.

GovWifi will be an authentication service running in the cloud that makes all the various participating Wifi networks appear as one. Each user will be protected with unique credentials and the necessary encryption keys to log in to the WiFi service and be able to access the internet.

The GovWifi service is being managed centrally by GDS, which is also covering the running costs for the platform.

The blog points out that just as on the GOV.UK Verify identity assurance service, its users need to understand that the service is different. They may not be used to the Wifi necessarily having to be secure – typically Wifi services accessed by guests are not secure, nor will they be used to having secure Wifi across government. So, as the GDS blog points out, the name of the service becomes very important.

The discovery process involved GDS conducting face to face interviews with people at GDS, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Department for Business, Energy, and Industry Strategy (BEIS), and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). GDS interviewed all potential users of the service (including civil servants, contractors, and department visitors) so that it could understand what elements of a name worked, and where the use of a name was effective with more than one user group.

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