North Yorkshire County Council, in partnership with its wholly owned Teckal company NYnet Ltd, is rolling out the scheme in 16 market towns across the county in a bid to support recovery and growth for communities and businesses.
The first phase of the roll-out saw the Wi-Fi go live on Scarborough seafront at the start of July, with the service launching in the latter two areas of the town today (August 27).
Daniel Bulman, Director of Asquith’s and Co chartered certified accountants in Scarborough, explains what benefits the roll-out will have for the company. He said: “Like many other businesses we changed the way we worked due to the pandemic by working from home and hosting client meetings virtually.
“As we move forward we are keen to start having meetings out and about, taking our clients out for meetings with a coffee or lunch, at the same time as spending money in local businesses.
“Therefore, the knowledge that Scarborough has a secure and reliable Wi-Fi network across the town centre giving us access to our systems would give us the confidence to pursue this aspiration over the coming months.”
Town centre public Wi-Fi is an opportunity to draw people back to local town centres as a destination as more people continue to work from home. It aims to promote local shops and services and create a different town centre experience.
Free public access Wi-Fi offers opportunities for people with limited or no broadband to access vital local council, government and health services and take part in the digital economy.
As part of the roll-out the public can access Eduroam which allows anybody in research or education to access resources on the go.
Callum Thomas-Shaw, CU Scarborough Campus Officer and Third Year Professional Policing student, believes it’s a very exciting time to study at the university.
He said: “Access to Wi-Fi throughout Scarborough will allow students to explore the town and work on their studies while being able to look over the coast which is one of the best parts about studying in Scarborough. This will open up access to some amazing facilities across the town centre and the coast for our students.”
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “Surveys indicate that some 40 per cent of free public Wi-Fi usage is for educational purposes, which is why our offer of Eduroam as part of this package is so beneficial.
“Since its launch on the seafront we have seen thousands of people make use of the service which has also been rolled out in Northallerton and Leyburn. The scheme demonstrates our commitment to improving the county’s digital infrastructure as we continue to recover from the pandemic.”
David Dickson, Chair of the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Infrastructure & Joint Assets Board, said: “The region has ambitions to be greener, fairer and stronger as we navigate the pandemic and schemes like this will help us get there. Digital connectivity is vital to enable good economic growth, so we’re really pleased to see the continued progress of the Wi-Fi roll-out.”
A £3m investment was awarded by the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership as part of its allocation from the government’s Getting Building Fund.