Driffield News

Free wi-fi is switched on in Driffield town centre

Visitors and shoppers in Driffield can benefit from free town centre wi-fi for the next three years after the service was launched in a bid to reinvigorate the area following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Local Growth team at East Riding of Yorkshire Council has teamed up with Driffield Town Council and local telecommunications service provider Connexin to provide free wi-fi for the town centre after the local authority secured a grant for 15,000 euros of European funding.

The Wi-fi4EU initiative was set up by the European Commission to part-fund the costs of wireless infrastructure and create free of charge wi-fi hotspots in public spaces.

We have been working hard since the pandemic to do everything we can to boost our great independent businesses and this is very much part of our work and we are confident it will play a vital role in our bounce back

town clerk claire bennington

The three-year pilot project provides free-to-use public wi-fi along the main shopping route stretching from the railway station to Middle Street South and Market Place.

By providing free access to wi-fi, it is hoped more people will be attracted to the town centre and spend longer in town centre businesses helping to boost the local economy.

East Riding Council has committed to assist with the set up and first year running costs with Driffield Town Council agreeing to fund the line rental and service costs for the second and third year.

Claire Binnington, Driffield town clerk, said: “Driffield Town Council is delighted to be working in partnership with the East Riding to bring public wi-fi to Driffield town centre.

“We have been working hard since the pandemic to do everything we can to boost our great independent businesses and this is very much part of our work and we are confident it will play a vital role in our bounce back.”

Town centres will increasingly need to support a ‘digital first’ approach with the need for free wi-fi in town centres and to promote greater use of mobile technologies by both businesses and consumers.

The installation of fibre broadband offers Driffield an opportunity to support alternative ways of working, increased flexibility for businesses and promotes a wider range of town centre uses.

Cllr Jane Evison, portfolio holder for economic development and tourism at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “Town centre recovery will not mean returning to the way things were before COVID-19, but to reimagine and reinvent high streets as community spaces that support health, culture, housing, leisure, and retail.

“Connection speeds on the existing network can be inconsistent, so the installation of free wi-fi will ease congestion and provide communities and businesses with better access to online services in the town centre.”

Users will be able to access the network by enabling wi-fi on their device and joining ‘Driffield Public wi-fi’.

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