East Riding of Yorkshire Council has worked with local telecommunications service provider Connexin to deliver free town centre Wi-Fi in Driffield and provide a welcome boost for residents and businesses.
The Local Growth team at East Riding of Yorkshire Council successfully applied to the Wi-Fi4EU scheme to secure a â‚¬15,000 grant to install public Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi4EU initiative was set up by the European Commission to part-fund the costs of wireless infrastructure and create free of charge Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces. The three-year pilot project provides free-to-use public Wi-Fi along the main shopping route stretching from the railway station to Middle Street South and Market Place. Driffield Town Council are also supporting the scheme by covering operating costs for the next two years.
Town centres will increasing need to support a 'digital first' approach with the need for free Wi-Fi in town centres and to promote greater use of mobile technologies by both businesses and consumers. The installation of fibre broadband offers Driffield an opportunity to support alternative ways of working, increased flexibility for businesses and promoting a wider range of town centre uses.
Councillor Jane Evison, portfolio holder for economic development and tourism at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: "Town centre recovery will not mean returning to the way things were before COVID-19, but to reimagine and reinvent high streets as community spaces that support health, culture, housing, leisure, and retail. Connection speeds on the existing network can be inconsistent, so the installation of free Wi-Fi will ease congestion and provide communities and businesses with better access to online services in the town centre."
Claire Binnington, Driffield Town clerk, said: "Driffield Town Council are delighted to be working in partnership with the East Riding to bring public Wi-Fi to Driffield town centre. We have been working hard since the pandemic to do everything we can to boost our great independent businesses and this is very much part of our work and we are confident it will play a vital role in our bounce back."
Ralph Varcoe, chief growth office and managing director of IoT at Connexin said: "Public Wi-Fi plays a key role in creating great resident and visitor experiences across towns and cities and we're delighted to be supporting East Riding of Yorkshire Council in this project. Ensuring that Driffield has cutting edge connectivity will not only benefit residents and local businesses but support the council's 'digital first' agenda by ensuring that the right infrastructure is in place to encourage further visitors and investment into the area."
Users will be able to access the network by enabling Wi-Fi on their device and joining 'Driffield Public Wi-Fi'.