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Progress on Free Public WiFi for 16 Towns in North Yorkshire UK

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 (8:49 am) - Score 1,152
Wireless wifi 3D render isolated

The North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) in England has announced that they’ve teamed up with other local authorities in order to extend the reach of their “free public” Wi-Fi (wireless) internet access network across Ripon, Harrogate and Knaresborough. A total of 16 market towns in the county could eventually receive the service.

The Harrogate Borough Council is understood to have provided £300,000 to help deliver extra coverage across the district, with Ripon being the first of their towns to benefit from that investment. Like most such networks, the service will only be deployed across busy town centres, rather than the entire town.

NOTE: Much of the investment for this has come from the UK Government’s £900m Getting Building Fund.

The plan itself was first announced earlier this year as part of a wider scheme worth £3m (here), which has since seen the free WiFi service go live in central areas of Scarborough, Northallerton and Leyburn. The NYCC sees the deployment as being a useful tool for helping to promote local shops and services, while also being something that could support local residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie said:

“Our free public Wi-Fi project is very good news for the local economies of the town centres which are part of this scheme. It provides the opportunity to our residents and visitors to access the internet and to find out what local businesses have to offer.”

The council added that free public access Wi-Fi can also offer opportunities for people with “limited or no broadband to access vital local council, government and health services” to take part in the digital economy.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Dave says:

    We had this in Barnsley from about 2011, I believe it was switched off a few years ago as it wasn’t being used despite the coverage being excellent.

    Seems even stranger to roll it out a decade later when mobile data is so much faster and cheaper per GB.

    Perhaps Harrogate Council should speak to BMBC before spaffing £300,000.

  2. Phil says:

    Does seem bizarre to be introducing such a thing in this day and age. We have free Wi-Fi in our town but I don’t know of anyone personally that has ever user it, although I suspect the market stall holders once or twice a week are probably the ones making use of it. Most cafes etc have Wi-Fi already.

  3. Christopher Smith says:

    Free public wifi seems so 2010s now that many people have massive data allowances on their mobile phone plans. Plus the security concern of using free public wifi without a vpn.

  4. John Steward says:

    Worth pointing out that free wifi will become more important for EU visitors in tourist towns now that charges for data roaming are returning.

  5. Paul says:

    Northallerton has actually had free WiFi in town for some years.. I often use it… And in Stokesley also whenever I go.
    I don’t see it as being “2010s”.. Rather a facility I would like every town to provide
    Will certainly use it in Ripon, Knaresborough and Harrogate. What about Whitby… Not mentioned.. and Saltburn…
    I make use of WiFi hotspot finders but don’t really want to have to find cafes etc nor do I want to use data allowances… Live perfectly happily with cheap monthly PAYG for unlimited voice and free WiFi for data!!

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