O2 has launched a fund to help councils get to grips with new mobile technologies for connecting staff, citizens and communities.

The O2 Future Fund will support ICT teams within local authorities in helping them get new projects off the ground. Successful local authorities applying for the scheme will be given access to O2 consultants, services and technology.

The O2 Future Fund is comprised of three grant funding packages up to the value of £125,000, £75,000 and £50,000, with O2 aiming to help councils reduce costs and increase efficiencies, find new ways to engage with citizens, and empower communities.

Technologies and applications O2 is offering help on include Wi-Fi, machine to machine (M2M) communications, social media, mobile advertising, location-based services and application development.

Applications will be judged by a panel of experts from O2 and "independent parties", said O2. It said councils will have eight weeks to develop and deliver their ideas, before selection takes place later this year.

In other council advanced mobile technology news, Swindon Council has begun deploying a borough-wide 4G Long term Evolution (LTE) network in a bid to encourage mobile working amongst its councillors, who intend to spend less time working at their desks and more time in the community.

The council has selected UK Broadband and Capita to implement the technology, and over the lifetime of the five-year deal expects to save approximately £480,000.