In our increasingly digital age, people use...and expect...social media and the internet on the go. Free Wi-Fi coverage in a town centre can really help residents and tourists connect with each other and stay in touch with local events, while local businesses can benefit from the added attraction of free Wi-Fi and the potential advertising derived from it.
Many businesses in your town centre, particularly cafes, pubs and hotels, probably offer free Wi-Fi already to attract customers, but also because their customers expect it. The same could be said for town centres. Developing a 'bricks & clicks' environment can really add another layer of interaction between a town centre and its users; as getting online is now becoming an important part of the shopping experience, developing a local website or Wi-Fi portal for people to login via provides another advertising opportunity for local services to connect with people.
Creating a Wi-Fi environment for a town centre does not always mean that your local partnership has to provide it however. Just as the commercial providers (BT, The Cloud) offer services in public places, it is worth engaging with these companies to see what role they might play in creating a generic Wi-Fi environment beyond individual cafes and restaurants. ATCM is currently looking into this.