Plans are underway to allow mobile web users access to free wi-fi in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth town centres.
Town centres across North Lanarkshire will receive the technology by March thanks to a £140,000 scheme.
Funded by council-owned Town Centre Activities Ltd, a pilot in Motherwell will kick start the project before it’s rolled out to other towns including Kilsyth.
In Cumbernauld, where the town centre is in private ownership, it is hoped a similar arrangement can be achieved
with the three centre owners.
Cumbernauld Shopping Centre already provides free wifi and discussions are underway to extend the network.
Councillor David Fagan said: “While some town and shopping centres offer free wifi to visitors, no-one in Scotland has introduced it on the scale we propose. This is an innovative and farsighted project which recognises the phenomenal growth of smartphones and tablets, mobile communications and online technology. The aim is to help revitalise our town centres, support local businesses, improve footfall and encourage shoppers and visitors to spend more time in the town centres.
“By itself, free wifi will not turn around the fortunes of our High Streets and centres. But it will help make them more attractive to visitors and allow shoppers to interact via social media, exchange emails and use the internet without racking up data charges on their smartphones or tablets. It also presents local businesses with the opportunity to provide services online and compete with chains who offer their customers free wifi access.”
Wifi transmitters will be installed at key locations across town centres and the scheme will run initially for three years. Once the pilot project has been assessed and TCA is confident the equipment and service meets their
requirement, it will be rolled out to the remaining town centres.