Published: Thu 7 November, 2019
Shoppers and visitors in Coalville and Ashby-de-la-Zouch are now able to access free WiFi.
North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) has invested in the WiFi, which is proven to bring benefits to businesses and improve the shopping, recreational and tourist experience of those that visit towns, increasing footfall in the process.
Users can log on to WiFi in both town centres by accessing the ‘NWLeicsFreeWiFi’ network from their mobile devices.
The contract to install and provide the free WiFi for five years was won by Intechnology. The new service is up and running and has already been logged in to by thousands of users.
The benefits of free public WiFi include:
- Users save on their mobile data and associated charges, which encourages people to stay longer in town centres
- Businesses can more effectively use the internet as a marketing tool to attract customers
- It becomes easier for people to navigate through the towns and find the shops, restaurants and venues they are looking for
- NWLDC can use data to monitor footfall trends in the towns. No personally identifiable data will be linked to the generation of footfall trends and statistics for either town.
The value of the five-year contract, including installation, is £89,000. NWLDC is meeting much of this cost but has secured funding of £15,000 from Leicestershire County Council and £5,000 from the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).
Councillor Tony Gillard, Portfolio Holder for Business and Regeneration at NWLDC, said: “Extensive research shows that providing free WiFi to people visiting market towns has benefits for businesses, shoppers and tourists.
“We want our businesses to be able to trade and compete in the 21st century and to use their online footprint to attract customers. WiFi can help people find the nearest cafe, clothes shop, book store or restaurant and bring more custom to our towns.
“This is very much a long-term investment for us, boosted by funding from Leicestershire County Council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), which we believe will increase footfall, trade and the visitor experience in both Coalville and Ashby into the future.”
Rob Woollard, Head of product and innovation of InTechnology Smart Cities, said: “Our free-to-use network will provide ubiquitous free connectivity to everyone in Ashby and Coalville, helping them to feel more connected and engaged, whether they are residents or visitors, and allowing them to access the services and benefits available in the digital world.
“North West Leicestershire District Council is a forward-looking organisation and we are excited about working in partnership to realise its vision to support economic development, local businesses, community engagement and social and digital inclusion.”