A pioneering scheme to make Wrexham the first free wi-fi town in Wales has been put forward by Plaid Cymru.
Councillor Arfon Jones, Plaid Cymru councillor for Gwersyllt West, has called on Wrexham Council to make the town centre a Wi-Fi zone, where anyone with a smartphone, laptop or tablet can access the internet for free. As part of the council’s priority to make Wrexham a more prosperous place, he has called on the council to carry out a feasibility study into making Wrexham a Wi-Fi town.
Councillor Jones said: “We cannot wait forever for BT to improve broadband speeds or introduce Infinity to this part of Wales, we must grab the opportunity to introduce free Wi-Fi into the town centre. This will improve opportunities for traders and business to grow as well as meeting the needs of the rapidly expanding student population who demand the best that technology can offer.
“We don’t need to re-invent the wheel – the technology is already there and being piloted. There are towns like York and Barnsley, which have done this at no cost to the local taxpayer, we need to learn from them. There is scope for a partnership between the council, local traders, Glyndwr University, Yale college and companies that want to develop this kind of service for the benefit of the townspeople, traders and visitors.”
Clr Jones added: “I will be presenting a paper to one of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees on the subject and I very much hope councillors will support this initiative to make Wrexham a more prosperous town.”
The proposal has attracted support from local businesses. Kim Sheridan, proprietor of Wrexham Tea and Coffee on the High Street said, “This is a great initiative which would be another selling point for Wrexham in attracting new businesses.”
Plaid Cymru’s regional Assembly Member for North Wales also backed the move. Llyr Gruffydd AM said: “Access to the internet is critical both for businesses and customers. If this scheme gives the largest town in North Wales the edge in attracting people to shop in the town centre, then it has to be a good thing.
“We’re all aware that town centres across Wales in the 21st Century have to offer something extra to bring people in. Having this free wi-fi zone in the town centre is just one extra incentive to shop in Wrexham and I’m very pleased that Plaid Cymru is championing the town centre in Wrexham.”