Leighton Buzzard’s historic High Street has been brought into the modern age with free town centre WiFi on offer to the public.
Visitors only need to sign up once using the registration form or via their personal Facebook or Twitter account to have automatic access whenever they come into the town centre.
WiFi is a widely expected amenity and an integral part of everyday life. Leighton-Linslade Town Council says visitors want to stay connected whilst enjoying going about their day with their feet firmly in the physical High Street and still able to enjoy the personal customer care from local retailers and services.
The town council has secured funding to support free public WiFi in the town centre for a period of three years. It will monitor how well it is used and what difference free WiFi makes to the way the town centre is used.
“We have a good looking and vibrant High Street that customers enjoy visiting,” said Cllr Amanda Dodwell, Chair of the Cultural and Economic Services Committee.
“The reality is that our lifestyles have changed. We expect to be able to access the internet at any time. We want people to be able to reach us wherever they are, and we want information at our fingertips, day and night. Free WiFi gives the High Street another layer of usefulness to visitors, customers and businesses alike.”
The WiFi service provider is ‘WiFi Friendly’ certified which means that access to inappropriate material is blocked.
The bandwidth will be enough to access websites and social media platforms, yet not large enough to download films. When connecting, the public will be asked if they wish to receive information and updates from the town council, e.g. a diary date for the next event.
They have control of what they choose to agree to. The council will not hold anyone’s personal data. The WiFi provider only holds what they legally require for enabling access to WiFi.
The signal coverage is designed to serve the main outdoor thoroughfares of the town covering Hockliffe, Lake, North and Bridge streets as well as the main High Street. North Street will come in line a little later as the council await the replacement of a streetlamp column before the kit can be installed.
It says it will not be able to cover all alleyways and mews areas. If benefits to having free WiFi become apparent, future expansion could be considered when securing a longer-term scheme.