Thursday 18 January 2018

Moves afoot to provide free public wifi in town

Cllr Chris MacManus.
Cllr Chris MacManus.

Free public wifi is on the cards for Sligo town, with both the County Council and Sligo Business Improvement District (Sligo BID) taking proactive steps to provide it.

Councillor Chris MacManus had asked officials for a progress update on the matter.

He was told by Sligo County Council Head of Enterprise John Reilly, that the Council intended applying for the EU 'Wifi4EU' initiative later this year or early 2018.

The WiFi4EU scheme will be open to public sector bodies such as the Council.

It will fund the equipment and installation costs (internet access points), while the Council will pay for the connectivity (internet subscription) and maintenance in good order of the equipment for 3 years.

The Council will be encouraged to develop and promote their own digital services in areas such as e-government, e-health and e-tourism through a dedicated app.

Sligo BID has also carried out "significant preparatory work on the provision of free wifi in Sligo town centre," said Mr Reilly.

He said the early indications are that "it will be viable for Sligo BID to operate and fund free wifi in the city centre."

Cllr MacManus said "Sligo must aim for its future transition to become a 'smart' town" and would benefit from the growing Internet of Things (IoT) industry.

He urged the Council to encourage and work with smaller towns and villages in Sligo to apply for Wifi4EU funding later this year.

Council Chief Executive Ciarán Hayes said he will be getting experts to come back with a strategy to take the wifi/IoT forward.

"We can be a smart town way down the line or we can grab the bull by the horns and get ahead of the curve," said Cllr MacManus.

Sligo Champion

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