Following a successful launch in Lowestoft and as part of a range of exciting digital projects taking place across East Suffolk, free-to-use public Wi-Fi has now been launched in Felixstowe.
To support local towns and businesses, East Suffolk Council is delivering a range of digital projects which aim to strengthen the local economy and improve connectivity within the district's market towns.
One of these projects is the East Suffolk Digital Towns programme which will digitally transform market towns through the installation of free public Wi-Fi, digital footfall counters and town marketing platforms alongside a business support programme called the Digital Springboard.
Supported by funding from the Getting Building Fund and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Innovative Projects fund, this new technology was initially piloted in Framlingham in 2019 and has now been launched in the main shopping areas of Felixstowe, as well as the seafront areas with other market towns to follow later this year.
Cllr Stephen Burroughes, East Suffolk's Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Operational Partnerships and Digital Transformation, said: “The Wi-Fi zone will extend from the seafront to the town centre, including Hamilton Road and the Triangle, and make it easy for visitors and local people to get online when out and about. It is a digital scheme which we are really proud of.”
Cllr Craig Rivett, East Suffolk’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “We are committed to supporting local businesses and the provision of free-to-use Wi-Fi in public areas is just one of the innovative ways we are doing this. As well as helping people to stay connected whilst visiting our town centres, this scheme will enable town councils and business groups to improve services and offerings to attract more visitors.”
Cllr Sharon Harkin, Mayor of Felixstowe said: “Felixstowe Town Council is delighted to be part of this new scheme which aims to help residents, visitors and businesses connect with each other. This new technology will help us understand how people use the town so we can improve services as well as signposting residents and visitors to the many exciting events that Felixstowe has to offer.”
Jessie Fotherby, Chair of Felixstowe Business Improvement District said: “The Digital Towns programme is a great boost to Felixstowe business. Not only will shoppers and visitors to Felixstowe enjoy free connectivity, but we will also have the helpful information and marketing that can be used to support our high street. This is a great example of the local authority and businesses working together for the greater good.”
New technology will enable the council to understand the number of visitors to the town, the busiest periods, the average time people spend in the town centre and much more. This will enable the council's Economic Development Team to provide tailored support for local businesses and provide data-based evidence to support other ongoing projects.
As part of the launch, digital partners Menta hosted a free ‘Digi Drop’ support session for small businesses at their new “@Inc Felixstowe” premises, and also launched some initial bookable workshops for businesses seeking support on digital growth themes as taster sessions for a developing two-year programme.
East Suffolk is also working in partnership with an interactive walking app provider, Go Jauntly to develop outdoor adventures across all of East Suffolk’s principal 12 towns and villages. The trails launched across East Suffolk in May via the downloadable app.
Following launches in Lowestoft and Felixstowe, East Suffolk Free Wi-Fi is provisionally scheduled to be available in Woodbridge, Southwold, Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth, Aldeburgh, Leiston and Saxmundham by October 2022.
Further information is available at: https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/business/digital-towns/ or www.eastsuffolkmeansbusiness.co.uk or by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org.