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Newmarket hailed as 'digital hub' after free wifi is rolled out in the town centre

PUBLISHED: 19:24 02 May 2018 | UPDATED: 19:24 02 May 2018

Matt Hancock, West Suffolk MP and secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport joins Newmarket Vision partners at official launch of the first free town centre wifi in west Suffolk. Picture: FOREST HEATH DISTRICT COUNCIL

Matt Hancock, West Suffolk MP and secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport joins Newmarket Vision partners at official launch of the first free town centre wifi in west Suffolk. Picture: FOREST HEATH DISTRICT COUNCIL

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Newmarket has become “a hub of digital connectivity”, according to West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock after free wifi was launched in the town centre.

Matt Hancock, West Suffolk MP and secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport joins Newmarket Vision partners at official launch of the first free town centre wifi in west Suffolk. Picture: FOREST HEATH DISTRICT COUNCILMatt Hancock, West Suffolk MP and secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport joins Newmarket Vision partners at official launch of the first free town centre wifi in west Suffolk. Picture: FOREST HEATH DISTRICT COUNCIL

The unlimited, single log-in public access wifi extends the length of the town centre, from the fuel stations at the Clock Tower and Memorial Hall ends, and its breadth, including the Guineas shopping centre to the west and National Heritage Centre to the east.

Wifi was identified as a priority by Newmarket Vision – the forum of public, private and voluntary organisations working in the town.

Managed by Love Newmarket Business Improvement District, the network has been funded with a £52,000 planning contribution through Forest Heath District Council.

Mr Hancock, who is secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, said it was “very good news” for the town.

Coverage map of the town centre wifi in Newmarket. Picture: FOREST HEATH DISTRICT COUNCILCoverage map of the town centre wifi in Newmarket. Picture: FOREST HEATH DISTRICT COUNCIL

“I am thrilled that Newmarket has become a hub of digital connectivity and is creating fresh opportunities in a new shared space,” he said.

“Harnessing the amazing advancements in tech to improve the lives of everyone is vital and this connectivity gives access to digital tools when and where they are needed.

“I have signed up and I recommend everyone using the town centre does the same. This is very good news for Newmarket and all those who enjoy spending time in the town.”

Robin Millar, Newmarket member for Suffolk County Council and Forest Heath District Council, and chairman of Newmarket Vision, said: “This excellent outcome demonstrates the effectiveness of close working between partners with a shared vision for the town.

“The Retailers Association brought the aspiration to the vision group, identifying how it would be funded and delivered through Love Newmarket, the Business Improvement District.

“I congratulate all involved and hope it will be widely used.”

Di Robertshaw, chairman of Love Newmarket - the Business Improvement District, and of Newmarket Retailers Association, said: ‘Business is built on good customer relationships and understanding what people are telling us.

“This technology goes beyond traditional footfall counters to give another completely anonymous level of detail on movement in the town centre that we can use to delight visitors.”

Lance Stanbury Forest Heath District Council cabinet member for planning and growth, said: ‘Our high streets have developed into places for us to spend leisure time, away from our home broadband hub, and if you carry a smart phone or tablet, your data allowance will go much further with Newmarket’s free wifi.

“Signing in is simple and the footprint you create can open up all kinds of opportunities for local businesses that will benefit you too.”

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