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Historic market town could embrace 21st century with free public WiFi

PUBLISHED: 16:30 09 February 2019

Framlingham councillors are consulting on the possibility of free WiFi in the town centre  Picture: SKY CAM EAST

Framlingham councillors are consulting on the possibility of free WiFi in the town centre Picture: SKY CAM EAST

Sky Cam East

It's famous for its wealth of history, but councillors have been eyeing up a rather modern idea for the market town of Framlingham - likely to set it apart from the average Anglo-Saxon settlement.

The market town of Framlingham is home to a medieval castle Picture: ADAM DAVY/PAThe market town of Framlingham is home to a medieval castle Picture: ADAM DAVY/PA

Councillors in Framlingham have been presented with informal proposals to install free public WiFi in the town centre – with the view to boost prospects for businesses, residents and tourists alike.

The aim of the project would be to ease internet access for people in the town, making life simpler for visitors and offering a helping hand to local businesses.

Speaking at the full council meeting on Thursday night, councillor Lesley Clouting said there has been an outpouring of support for the project following initial surveys.

“There are ongoing conversations happening at the moment for people to have their say,” she said.

“[It has got] over 90% support on social media.”

Ms Clouting said there is “potential funding available,” which would hopefully come from the district council.

However she said that is “only a possibility at the moment”.

Ms Clouting said she personally thought free WiFi would be “amazing for the town,” especially in regards to tourism and local businesses.

However she stressed there is “no formal proposal” to present to the town council yet, as the idea is still in the early stages.

In May 2018, Newmarket was hailed “a hub of digital connectivity“ by Matt Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, after adopting a similar scheme.

The unlimited, single log-in public access WiFi now 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.

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

Back in 2016, rumours circulated that a free WiFi area could be created in Ipswich once the new Cornhill was completed, however it is unclear if any progress has been made since then.

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