Free Wi-Fi zone to be added to South Shields town centre in effort to boost post-pandemic economic recovery

The public will soon be able to benefit from Wi-Fi as they pass through South Shields town centre.

Works to install the free Wi-Fi zone are due to start in the coming weeks, providing connectivity through the marketplace, along King Street and Ocean Road.

The Word, on the town’s Market Square, will act as a communications hub, while a series of access points and radio receivers will be fitted on to existing lampposts throughout the town centre.

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It is hoped the £50,000 scheme, funded by through the Government’s Welcome Back Fund, will enhance the visitor experience and give local businesses a boost to help them bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic, in line with the council’s key priority of supporting town centres and high streets.

King Street, South ShieldsKing Street, South Shields
King Street, South Shields

Residents and visitors will receive a push notification informing them that a free Wi-Fi network is available. They will be greeted with a welcome message and can opt to receive information in one of 34 different languages.

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Cllr Mark Walsh, cabinet member for Regeneration and Economy, said: “We hope this will complement the ongoing regeneration of South Shields town centre by improving the visitor and shopping experience, driving footfall and encouraging people to stay longer and spend more.

“It’ll enable us to capture valuable data to support post-pandemic recovery, allowing us to promote events and our tourism offer, as well as working alongside retail and hospitality businesses to offer visitors discounts and incentives.

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“In an ever-more digital world, it’s important that people can stay connected even when they’re on the move.

“Now residents, visitors and workers will be able to check their emails, look up travel arrangements, book tickets or just connect with friends, all free of charge and without using up their data allowance.”

C>Ways Ltd has been selected to provide the network, following a competitive tender exercise.

Managing director Nick Jackson said: “We are pleased that South Tyneside Council has chosen us to be part of this fantastic project, that not only connects people and businesses but helps to provide relevant information, offers and free Wi-Fi to visitors on the move.

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“We hope visitors to South Shields will make full use of the service and bring benefit to both people and businesses of South Tyneside.”

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