More town centres to benefit from free public Wi-Fi

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Free public access Wi-Fi has been switched-on in Northallerton and Leyburn in a bid to support recovery and growth for communities and businesses.

North Yorkshire County Council will roll-out the scheme in 16 market towns across the county, helping people to access local and national public services and economic opportunities.

A council spokesman said: “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.”

A £3m investment in this scheme was awarded by the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership as part of its allocation from the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

County councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, added: “I welcome this start to our free public Wi-Fi project, which will help our residents to access information, our visitors to find out more about the local area, and businesses to promote their goods and services.

“This further addition to the county’s digital infrastructure will support town centre high street businesses as they compete against online retailers.

“We have invested up until now around £100m in digital connectivity, especially in rural areas, and we will continue that programme in the years ahead.”

David Dickson, chairman of the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Infrastructure & Joint Assets Board, said: “Improved digital connectivity is absolutely vital.

“It’s a key recommendation in the LEP’s ‘21st Century Towns’ report and in the region’s plans to be a greener, fairer and stronger economy as it emerges from the pandemic. It’s great to see this scheme’s continued progression.”

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