North has been selected to deliver Public Wi-Fi to five towns across the County of Blaenau Gwent.
The council secured EU funding to provide town centre Wi-Fi to Tredegar before the first coronavirus lockdown, before securing additional funding from the Welsh Government Covid Recovery for smaller towns fund to extend the service across the county.
Last year, the Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government announced the repurposing of up to £5.3m from the Transforming Towns Programme, to support adaptations in town centres which could facilitate trading and public safety in response to Covid-19. As part of that announcement, the Valleys Taskforce committed £3.7 million to support the Transforming Towns agenda.
As well as adaptations to directly respond to Covid 19 and adhere to social distancing guidelines, Welsh Government also supported funding for digital infrastructure within small town centres, which could include technology that enables data driven decision making, such as sensors, or LoRaWAN / WiFi systems.
North will work closely with Blaenau Gwent Council to carefully plan and deploy seamless Wi-Fi in the main centres of Ebbw Vale, Abertillery, Brynmawr, Blaina, to benefit residents and local businesses.
Public Wi-Fi will provide access to helpful data from the network, such as footfall and how public spaces are being used and will enable the Council to further promote local events through branded login pages. Seamless login will also enhance the user experience by automatically reconnecting users when visiting their favourite locations across Blaenau Gwent the county.
Dave Ruthven, North’s Sales Director for the Public Sector, said: “Local authorities are turning to technology because of the many advantages it brings in providing real time data that can be used to make informed and impactful decisions on regeneration within town and cities. We are delighted to be working with Blaenau Gwent on yet another project to expand the Public Wi-Fi provision to further towns such as Ebbw Vale and Brynmawr.”
Blaenau Gwent Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Councillor Dai Davies, said: “As the Council looks to provide support for businesses across Blaenau Gwent in their recovery from the impact of Covid19, free town centre Wi-Fi is a way of helping them to secure increased footfall and turnover as shoppers return to the High Street. We are delighted to be working with North in delivering this key project”