A North Dublin town has become the first place on the east coast to offer free public Wi-Fi.
Balbriggan town centre will offer free Wi-Fi and charging units as part of a new town improvement scheme.
Local businesses have joined up with Magnet Networks to install internet access points throughout the town which will allow for 250 simultaneous connections. Solar-powered Wi-Fi benches with wireless charging units have also been installed.
Chair of Balbriggan Leadership Group and DCU President, Prof Brian MacCraith said this launch is a crucial step towards improving the heart and culture of Balbriggan.
“As Ireland’s youngest town, we have the highest percentage of digital natives in the country. The free Wi-Fi will be critical to attracting people and businesses to a reimagined town centre and helping us meet future challenges.”
The scheme is funded by sponsorship through local businesses, who can then run promotional offers to customers.
Speaking at the launch on Monday, March 8th, Managing Director of Magnet Networks Ireland Stephen Brewer said:
“For example, if a local restaurant sponsors the Wi-Fi, they are able to send out a coupon at a set time to everyone who has logged on that day, giving them 10% off.”
Aisling Hyland, Digital Strategy Manager for Fingal County Council said this launch is a big step forward for a ‘”new” Balbriggan.
“In recent years, Balbriggan has gotten a bad reputation for vandalism and anti-social behaviour. Hopefully, the free Wi-Fi and other upcoming projects will bring more people to the area and put this reputation to bed.’”
Free public Wi-Fi is one of many steps being taken to improve the seaside town. A draft proposal by a community group was released in November, which included a new heritage trail and a skate park as part of a €20 million town rejuvenation plan.
This idea was first introduced in June 2018 as part of the ‘’Smart Bench’’ scheme, which aims to introduce free Wi-Fi to all towns and villages across North Dublin. Councillors hope to roll out the scheme in other areas across the county within the next few months.
Image Credit: Sally Dobie