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Free wi-fi plans for Ludlow town centre dashed

South Shropshire | News | Published:

Hopes that Ludlow town centre could get its own free internet wi-fi have been dashed.

Ludlow Town Council has discussed the prospect of installing wi-fi across the town centre. It would allow residents and visitors to connect to from laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

But although the idea is supported by councillors, they say they do not have the funds to make it a reality. It is hoped the idea could be looked at again at a later date, but no timescale has been put in place.

Gina Wilding, clerk of Ludlow Town Council said: "Members felt that it was a great idea but just at the wrong time.

"The town council has been approached by a company about the idea.

"The installation itself will cost about £7,000 and then it would cost about £6,000 a year in running costs.

"Members are widely supportive of the idea. They think it would be a benefit to the town and a good asset for local businesses."

But, she said, in the current financial climate, it was not a priority.

The town council is currently looking into the cost of picking up the bill for a range of services that are set to have their funding cut to nothing by Shropshire Council in 2017.

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They include the town's library and museum, bus services, tourist information and a leisure centre.

Ludlow Town Council is to look into the technology of the wi-fi with a view to revisiting the subject in the future.

Solvings Ltd, a firm based across the border in Mold, Flintshire, has spoken to the town council about bringing in wi-fi.

Mrs Wilding said: "The proposal was for the town centre but the extent of the cover was not agreed, nothing was finalised as the discussion didn't proceed that far.

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"We would need to look into the technology to see what the range of the antennae would be and where they would need to be placed.

"The potential is there residents to use it. One suggestion is that it could be two hours for free and then charged, or there is also the option to keep everything completely free.

"But ideally we would go with what would be affordable and what would benefit the town most."

A spokesman for Solvings Ltd said the technology firm had approached Ludlow Town Council as a matter routine while looking for possible contract opportunities.

"There are websites that tell you what councils are looking for, what they might need and so on," he said.

"We have approached a number of them."

He said the company did not yet supply wi-fi technology for any town centre, and currently mostly dealt with private sites such as military complexes.

Public wi-fi is listed as one of "100 ways to help your town centre" by not-for-profit body, the Association of Town and City Management.

The body says: "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.

"Local businesses can benefit from the added attraction of free wifi and the potential advertising derived from it."

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