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Ratepayers to foot ‘free’ wifi set-up costs!

RATEPAYERS will be expected to cover the cost of rolling out ‘free’ wifi across Portadown, Craigavon and Lurgan town centres, it has emerged.

 And it comes with a £6,000 price tag over the next two years in maintenance fees.

Craigavon Borough Council secured £63,000 from the Department of Social Development to install the free public wifi, but it will cost £6,000 to maintain and promote the system.

You will also have to register and sign up to obtain access to the new system.

The free wifi will “offer improved retail opportunities for both shop owners and consumers alike, as well as giving all three town centres a boost”.

However, some businesses and bars in Portadown already offer free wifi to customers.

The council believes that the wifi “will attract tourists by offering a unique selling point for the borough and increase footfall with innovative digital advances such as mobile vouchers for retail and leisure activities”.

The council is currently in the process of appointing a contractor and expects to announce that the wifi will be available in the town centres by early summer.

“The installation of the wifi is 100 per cent funded by DSD, but council has also committed £6,000 to the project for the maintenance and promotion of the system. This funding will cover the three towns over a period of two years,” said a spokesperson.

“To access the wifi through either a laptop or smart phone, users will be asked to register and sign up to the standard terms and conditions for use before being able to enjoy controlled, free access to the internet in the town centres.

“Users will also be directed to the council’s ‘landing page’, where they will be able to find out latest news, events and activities taking place in the borough.”

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