Talks are signalled as council seek to get Cumbernauld online through free town centre wi-fi

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 21:57 on 17 September 2013.
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26-06-2013 - By Scott Campbell (+44) 0774 296 870 - Cumbernauld Town Centre; Picture shows Cumbernauld Town Centre, as viewed from Seafar-Cabrain footbridge.
Cumbernauld town centre may have free wi-fi, next year. Picture: Cumbernauld Media.
 




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FREE internet access is often seen as one way to draw visitors into your business or venue. Now, though, the potential of bringing free wi-fi to Cumbernauld town centre and Kilsyth Main Street is soon to be a reality.

At present, visitors to Cumbernauld Shopping Centre are invited to join the shopping centre’s own ‘CumbernauldSC’ wi-fi network, although people attempting to connect to the network have persistently received failed connection notices.

Meanwhile, restaurants such as Wetherspoons, McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Tesco and ASDA have all been offering visitors the opportunity to surf the net whilst they tan back a relaxing after-work drink, or a hectic post-school-run shop, through free wi-fi access. 

Now though, it has been confirmed that town centres across North Lanarkshire will receive the technology to introduce free, universal wi-fi services, by March, next year, courtesy of a £140,000 scheme, by Town Centre Activities Ltd.

A pilot project, which will provide visitors to Motherwell Shopping Centre free internet access, will get underway soon, before the initiative is rolled out across North Lanarkshire, and talks take place to see free wi-fi access installed across all three of Cumbernauld’s privately owned centres.

North Lanarkshire Council’s Regeneration and Infrastructure Convener, Councillor David Fagan said: “While some town and shopping centres offer free wifi to visitors, no-one in Scotland has introduced it on the scale we propose. This is an innovative and farsighted project which recognises the phenomenal growth of smartphones and tablets, mobile communications and online technology. The aim is to help revitalise our town centres, support local businesses, improve footfall and encourage shoppers and visitors to spend more time in the town centres.

“By itself, free wifi will not turn around the fortunes of our High Streets and centres. But it will help make them more attractive to visitors and allow shoppers to interact via social media, exchange emails and use the internet without racking up data charges on their smartphones or tablets. It also presents local businesses with the opportunity to provide services online and compete with chains who offer their customers free wifi access.”

Wifi transmitters will be installed at key locations across town centres and the scheme will run initially for three years. Once the pilot project has been assessed and TCA is confident the equipment and service meets their requirement, it will be rolled out to the remaining town centres.

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