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Lowestoft now has free public WiFi in town centre as part of digital towns programme hoping to boost local economy



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Free public WiFi has been launched in Lowestoft as part of a council's range of projects aiming to boost the local economy by attracting more visitors.

East Suffolk Council says it is delivering the package of digital projects to support local towns and businesses, and improve connectivity within the district's market towns.

One of these projects is the East Suffolk Digital Towns programme which hopes to digitally transform market towns through the installation of free public WiFi, digital footfall counters and town marketing platforms, alongside a business support programme.

Lowestoft Prom. Picture by Mark Westley
Lowestoft Prom. Picture by Mark Westley

Cllr Stephen Burroughes, East Suffolk's cabinet member for customer services, operational partnerships and digital transformation, said: "The WiFi zone will extend from the seafront to the town centre, including Kirkley High Street 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."

Supported by funding from the Getting Building Fund and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership's Innovative Projects fund, this new technology will be combined with bespoke business support, helping local businesses and the towns in which they are based, to grow.

Stephen Burroughes. Picture: SCC
Stephen Burroughes. Picture: SCC

Initially piloted in Framlingham in 2019, the free public WiFi has now been launched in the main shopping areas of Lowestoft, as well as the seafront areas with an ambition for other market towns to follow later this year.

“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," Cllr Craig Rivett, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for economic development, said.

"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.”

And Lowestoft mayor Alan Green said Lowestoft Town Council was 'delighted' to be part of the new scheme aiming to help residents, visitors and businesses connect with each other.

Lowestoft Beach. Picture by Mark Westley
Lowestoft Beach. Picture by Mark Westley

"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 Lowestoft has to offer," he added.

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 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.

Danny Steel, chairman of Lowestoft Vision, said: "The Digital Towns programme is a great boost to Lowestoft business.

Free public WiFi has been launched in Lowestoft. Picture by Mark Westley
Free public WiFi has been launched in Lowestoft. Picture by Mark Westley

"Not only will shoppers and visitors to Lowestoft 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 business working together for the greater good.”

East Suffolk Council is also working in partnership with an interactive walking app provider, Go Jauntly, to develop outdoor adventures across all of East Suffolk’s principle 12 towns and villages.

Three trails will be launching in Lowestoft at the same of the free-to-use WiFi via the app.

East Suffolk Free WiFi will soon be launched in Felixstowe and is provisionally scheduled to be available in Woodbridge, Southwold, Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth, Aldeburgh, Leiston and Saxmundham by October 2022.

For more information, visit www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/business/digital-towns/