People in three key towns in Taunton Deane can now enjoy open and unlimited Wi-Fi thanks to a Taunton Deane Borough Council initiative.
The authority has spent the last few months working with one of the country’s leading experts, Pinacl, to get Taunton, Wellington and Wiveliscombe, digitally connected.
Residents and visitors will be able to use the new Wi-Fi 24 hours a day, seven days a week via their social media accounts. There is no charge or subscription fee. Those without social media will need to sign up initially with the system recognising them on their return.
The open Wi-Fi will also keep people informed of events and activites talking place and is a boost for businesses in the Borough helping them to market their services as people arrive in the three towns.
Cllr Mark Edwards, Deputy Leader of the Council and executive member for business development said: I am delighted that open public Wi-Fi is now live. It will undoubtedly add to the attractiveness of these three towns for businesses, visitors and residents.
“We already enjoy great connectivity with superfast broadband access being rolled out across most of the Borough. Open public Wi-Fi is a worthwhile investment that means Taunton, Wellington and Wiveliscombe will be joining the growing list of Smart Places in Britain. This will be of great benefit to shoppers, visitors and traders alike.”
Mark Lowe, Strategic Director for Pinacl, said: “We are delighted that our Wi-Fi solution is now live across Taunton, Wellington and Wiveliscombe. We know that free and easy to use Wi-Fi is widely being acknowledged as a key enabler for smart places and have no doubt that this Wi-Fi service will greatly support Council initiatives whilst enhancing the provision of services for visitors and residents alike. It has been a pleasure working with Taunton Deane Council and we look forward to continuing our partnership over the coming years.”
The Council has been working with Friendly WiFi to make sure the system in place is safe for users: Beverley Smith of Friendly WiFi said “The Friendly WiFi symbol is designed to help children, young people and adults navigate their way through the high street and when they are making choices on days out and holidays, giving the option to use a 'Friendly WiFi' approved service to ensure that the public Wi-Fi that they are accessing is filtered and safe.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Taunton Deane Borough Council who have been focused on achieving the Friendly WiFi accreditation for their new public W-iFi service. Ultimately this is excellent news for all the Wi-Fi users who visit Taunton and I hope there will be many other towns who follow in their footsteps.”
The Council has invested in the roll-out and ongoing maintenance of the free external Wi-Fi which is designed to complement existing provision. It is working with organisations in each town who are helping to manage the landing pages which welcome visitors to Visit Taunton, Visit Wellington and Visit Wiveliscombe on social media.
The Council’s own Marketing Team is hosting the Taunton pages and overseeing those in Wellington and Wiveliscombe.
In Wellington they are being assisted by the Town Council in association with Keith Wheatley from the Wellington Business Association
In Wiveliscombe the Library and the Recreation ground have enabled access to their sites, while the Town Council and 10 Parishes Business Group have helped to provide content for the pages.
Leader of the Council, Cllr John Williams said: “The success of this initiative is a testament to collaborative working. Our own staff including those at the DLO have worked alongside business partners and town councils to get open public Wi-Fi up and running.
“We also have to thank Pinacl for their expertise and Scottish Southern Electric for carrying out the installation on SCC owned lamp posts, along with those who have allowed use of their property to host the access points which includes Shaul`s bakery in Wellington, Wiveliscombe recreation ground and Somerset County Council`s library at Wiveliscombe.
“All that remains now is for the public to make the most of this great new service which we hope will become a ‘mine of information’ of what’s on or available in the respective towns.”