Visitors to South Wigston, Wigston, and Oadby town centres can now get online with free public Wi-Fi – thanks in part to LLEP funding.
Oadby and Wigston Borough Council (OWBC) recently installed the networks to increase connectivity among shoppers, residents, and businesses.
The move will help to foster economic growth throughout the town centres.
A grant of almost £57,000 was provided by the LLEP through Business Rates Pooling.
The LLEP administers the pool, to which all nine local authorities in Leicester and Leicestershire contribute business rates.
Funding is then granted to support the delivery of projects that drive productivity and growth of the Leicester and Leicestershire economy.
Research has shown that offering free wi-fi can increase the time visitors spend in a town centre – allowing them to engage more with local businesses and access local information and events.
Phoebe Dawson, CEO, LLEP, said:
“Contributing towards free wi-fi in Oadby and Wigston is just one of the ways the LLEP is working to create a region which is more digitally inclusive, productive, and innovative.
“Access to the internet will help businesses, benefit shoppers, and improve visitor experience at the same time as enabling digital inclusion.”
Visitors can join the wi-fi networks quickly and easily by selecting the ‘Free Wi-Fi’ option for the town they are in from the list on their smartphone or other digital device.
Councillor Lee Bentley, Deputy Leader, OWBC, said:
“Offering free wi-fi is a great opportunity to expand our appeal and draw people into our town centres, providing a boost for local businesses while delivering a more convenient experience to shoppers.
“In an increasingly digital age it is important that our offer keeps our visitors and businesses connected, and the anonymous data that the service provides on footfall and visitor’s habits will be able to help us to plan our future town centre strategies to further increase growth.
“The free networks also contribute to digital inclusion and provide an important service to those who don’t have Wi-Fi connectivity in their home, allowing them the chance to get online to access vital services.”
The move has been welcomed by local business owners with Rose Linnett, owner of Buddies Wigston and Chair of the Wigston Business Group, praising the ‘valuable’ addition to our towns:
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“People like to be connected and that’s why the free wi-fi is really valuable in our town centres.
“Giving people this incentive to spend longer in our towns will only benefit the borough’s businesses, positioning our high streets as a destination to work, socialise or relax as visitors have everything they need.”