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Free Wi-Fi project to help boost town trade
9:33am Thursday 13th September 2012 in News
Ilkley’s town centre could soon be enjoying free Wi-Fi after plans were revealed by a local businessman.
Matthew Wright, who runs IT consultancy firm Soda, says the pioneering scheme would bring a host of benefits, including attract-ing more visitors and providing a boost for business.
And he says the exciting project would be relatively easy to set up and run.
Mr Wright has formed a not-for-profit organisation, called Free Wi-Fi Ilkley, and has already received support from several prominent town businesses, such as Lishman’s, Dale Eddison, Lessian Motors and Talk Straight.
They have agreed to have a small white box on the outside of their buildings to help transmit the Wi-Fi signal around the town.
Now Mr Wright is appealing for more businesses, landlords and residents to get involved in the scheme and help expand the range of signal around the town.
He was due to speak to the Ilkley Business Forum (IBF) last night about the project and to encourage more people to get involved.
“The main aim is to provide free Wi-Fi in the street for residents and visitors to Ilkley,” he said.
“Hopefully, it will attract more visitors and encourage them to stick around since they’re here.
“A pilot scheme that ran in York for just three months back in November attracted more than a million log-ins.”
Mr Wright said the plan is cover the main town centre areas including The Grove, Brook Street, Church and parts of Leeds Road, Skipton Road, Little Lane and the town’s main car park.
“We therefore need local shops and businesses to help,” he said.
“Some very generous local businesses have already leant their support.
“We believe this project could make a massive different to Ilkley town centre and that is why my company, Soda, will be providing all the equipment, know-how and engineering time for free.
“This project can only work with local support.”
And he predicted there could be extra benefits if the scheme takes off, with companies able to advertise on log-in pages and provide vital information about the town to visitors and residents.
Steve Butler, from the IBF, said the group backs Mr Wright’s scheme.
“We support the scheme and it will be good for Ilkley to be on of the few towns in the country to have it,” he said.
“Hopefully, it will make Ilkley more attractive for businesses and visitors.”