Visitors to Chorley town centre will be able to access free Wi-Fi from today (Tuesday) as the authority continues its drive to develop the shopping areas and give them a long term future.
The authority is bringing Wi-Fi hotspots to all parts of the town centre as part of its digital improvements to encourage more people to get online – and the first phase is going live today.
It also complements the £16 million to transform the shopping areas bringing a cinema, M&S Foodhall and other new restaurants and retailers to the town centre.
Councillor Adrian Lowe, who is responsible for Chorley’s digital strategy, said: “We know the use of smartphones is growing all the time and that people may not have enough data to go online if they’re not at home on their Wi-Fi.
“By offering free Wi-Fi it enables people to go online while they’re in the town centre whether that’s to get in touch with friends, use Google maps to find their way around or access emails.
“Free wifi is just another small thing we can provide to make people’s experience of Chorley town centre better and we think it will be a great addition for businesses, residents, students and tourists.”
Chorley Town Centre is already seeing a lot of development, including improvements to car parks, new car parks and building works, including the Market Walk extension.
Four out of five adults now own a smartphone and being connected without limits on data usage is important for Chorley residents and businesses. The council views town centre wifi as one of the ways in which visitors to the town can make the most of their shopping and leisure experience helping digitally engaged consumers on the high street.
The first phase of Wi-Fi covers the existing Market Walk shopping centre, the Covered Market, Cleveland Street where the Winter Wonderland is, the council buildings and Market Street north of its junction with Chapel Street.
Connecting will be free at the point of access – the Wi-Fi name is 'Check Out Chorley' and common platforms such as Facebook will be used for sign on.
Chorley Council already provides a lot of digital courses which teach people the basics of getting online to the more difficult skills for the future tech savvy generation.
Providing Wi-Fi in the town centre will fall in line with the skills that people are learning as it will mean they will have more access to the internet when they are out and about.
“We’re really pleased it’s going live before Christmas and we hope people can make the most of it.” added Councillor Lowe.
“As development has been progressing in the town centre we have been pro-active and have installed some network points across the centre to prepare for the Wi-Fi and we will roll it out to a wider area as this work continues.”