Ripon is the latest destination in North Yorkshire to see the introduction of free public access Wi-Fi aimed at boosting digital connectivity.
North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council have come together to deliver the scheme in the Harrogate district. Ripon is the first area to see the switch-on, with Harrogate and Knaresborough to follow.
The County Council is rolling out the scheme in 16 market towns across the county in a bid to support recovery and growth for communities and businesses. Harrogate Borough Council has provided £300,000 to provide extra coverage across the district with Ripon the first to benefit.
Councillor Graham Swift, Harrogate Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources, Enterprise and Economic Development, said:
It is believed that more than 80 per cent of adults have a smartphone and we all like to have high-speed connectivity wherever we are. That’s why we’re funding this scheme, which is being supported by the County Council.
Providing free Wi-Fi in public spaces, such as Ripon, supports our economic growth strategy which aims to make the Harrogate district the best place to live, work and visit.
Town centre public Wi-Fi is an opportunity to draw people back to local town centres as a destination as more people continue to work from home. It aims to promote local shops and services and create a different town centre experience.
Free public access Wi-Fi offers opportunities for people with limited or no broadband to access vital local council, government and health services and take part in the digital economy.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:
Our free public Wi-Fi project is very good news for the local economies of the town centres which are part of this scheme. It provides the opportunity to our residents and visitors to access the internet and to find out what local businesses have to offer.
Following on from the successful introduction of this free service in Scarborough, Northallerton and Leyburn, Ripon residents and visitors are now able to benefit from this latest investment in North Yorkshire’s digital infrastructure.
Gary Camplejohn, Treasurer of Ripon City AFC can see the benefit that public access Wi-Fi will bring to the city as a whole:
We can see a real benefit especially for visitors to our beautiful city. Having publicly available free Wi-Fi will hopefully enable locals and visitors to explore Ripon digitally with a view to finding what they need to stay longer and support the local economy.
From a personal perspective, having free Wi-Fi in the city centre gives me added comfort that my 11-year-old daughter could communicate with relatives via internet communications in the event of her mobile credit running out.
A £3m investment was awarded by the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership as part of its allocation from the government’s Getting Building Fund.
David Dickson, Chair of the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Infrastructure & Joint Assets Board, said:
It is very exciting to see Ripon continuing to progress its ambitions as a 21st Century destination. Free Wi-Fi in public spaces is fundamental to increasing the economic potential of our region. Enhancing experience within cultural spaces will help Ripon to thrive and benefit residents, visitors and businesses alike.