Motherwell is chosen as the site of wifi pilot

David Fagan says wifi will make town centres more attractive
David Fagan says wifi will make town centres more attractive

A new scheme to provide free wifi in town centres across North Lanarkshire is being piloted in Motherwell.

The three-year £140,000 scheme, funded by North Lanarkshire Council-owned Town Centre Activities (TCA) Ltd, is then expected to be rolled out to Bellshill, Airdrie, Coatbridge, Wishaw, Kilsyth and Cumbernauld early next year.

Councillor David Fagan, convener of regeneration and infrastructure, said: “While some town and shopping centres offer free wifi no-one in Scotland has introduced it on the scale we propose.

“By itself, free wifi will not turn around the fortunes of our high streets and centres, but will help make them more attractive to visitors.

“The provision of free wifi is part of a package of measures, including the new business nurture unit, which aim to provide much-needed support to our town centres.”

TCA managing director Emma Walker said: “We will be installing wifi transmitters at key locations across town centres.

“This development has been a long time in the planning and will run initially for three years.

“Once the pilot project has been assessed and we are confident the equipment and service meets our requirement, it will be rolled out to the remaining town centres.

“We expect the system to be fully up and running by March next year.”

The cost in Motherwell will be split evenly with shopping centre owner Chester Properties and has been welcomed by traders.

Cash Converters manager George Cameron said: “I think introducing free wifi is a great move and it will certainly be good for us.

“More and more of our electronic equipment is wifi enabled and means customers can use anything they buy as soon as they leave the store.”