Town centres switch on to free WiFi
YOU may have seen the stickers all around the borough, and now you’ve found out what they mean.
Free wi fi has arrived in all of Tameside’s town centres. Last week I was joined at Ashton Old Baths by representatives from the council, Purple Wi Fi and Network Connect as we put Tameside at the forefront of the digital revolution not just in Greater Manchester, but in the entire north west.
And make no mistake, when I say the wi fi is free, that really means free.
The Smart Wireless Internet for Tameside (SWIFT for short) is open to anybody with a compatible device within its service area.
There are no downloads or streaming limits, and to make it safe for young people access to websites will operate under the same policies used in Tameside’s libraries.
Logging in is done via a Twitter or Facebook account or as a guest, and people will automatically be connected as they move around our town centres.
I know there are some who question why local government is concerning itself with projects like this in a time of austerity. Let me be clear, this is a low-cost, low-risk investment that will bring great benefits not just for our residents but for our business as well.
Free wi fi will not just attract people to our town centres, it will get them to stay longer and make more use of our shops and services. We’re also working with our partners to use the SWIFT network to provide new and linked-up digital services in a way we would have never been able to do under other circumstances.
The best bit from a value for money standpoint is that we haven’t had to create a whole new set of infrastructure for it. In the majority of cases we’ve been able to fit it around what’s already there. The wi fi emitters that transmit the signal are embedded in our town halls or in our new LED lampposts, produced at the Tame Street depot in Stalybridge.
I’m delighted that our vision for free wi fi in Tameside has become a reality. So if you’re in and about Tameside in the future make sure you give the SWIFT Wi Fi network a spin.
Whether it’s to check the weather, update your Facebook or look for the bus times, there’s a way to make it work for you.
Tameside council leader Kieran Quinn