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East Anglia Future 50

Town to get free wifi for three years

PUBLISHED: 12:53 03 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:31 03 May 2019

Framlingham is set to get free public wifi as part of the  Digital Town Project. Photo: Ruth Leach.

Framlingham is set to get free public wifi as part of the Digital Town Project. Photo: Ruth Leach.

Free wifi will be rolled out across the historic market town of Framlingham in a move designed to boost business and bring rural communities up to speed with the modern world.

Framlingham is set to get free public wifi as part of the  Digital Town Project. Photo:Gregg Brown.Framlingham is set to get free public wifi as part of the Digital Town Project. Photo:Gregg Brown.

The town will act as guinea pig for the Digital Town Project – an initiative to drive economic growth across East Suffolk through digital advancements.

If the Framlingham pilot scheme proves successful it could be introduced in a number of neighbouring towns.

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Work to install the free public wifi will soon get under way, with town centre visitors expected to have access to 5mb of data by mid summer.

Made possible by Framlingham Town Council, Framlingham Business Association and East Suffolk Council (ESC), the introduction of the wifi could provide numerous benefits for the town.

Framlingham is set to get free public wifi as part of the  Digital Town Project. Photo: PA.Framlingham is set to get free public wifi as part of the Digital Town Project. Photo: PA.

Along with free wifi in the town centre, geo-sense footfall tracking technology and business support – such as cashless payment facilities for local businesses – will also be installed.

“The concept is a simple one,” said Nick Khan, ESC's strategic director, “take a small rural town in the heart of east Suffolk and explore what is possible in terms of using digital and other technology to help the town and its communities thrive.

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“We will see what works, what' doesn't and use that learning and evidence to expand the concept across the whole of East Suffolk.

“The contracts have been signed with the contractors and we are currently working on finalising the finer details – we hope to be able to start work very soon.”

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The free wifi and geo-sense terminal have been financed for three years, during which evidence will be collected on the long term viability of the project.

While the idyllic town boasts a rich history it is perhaps best known amongst the younger generation due to local hero Ed Sheeran's Castle on the Hill.

And it is these younger customers the town is hoping will reap the rewards of the change.

ESC says the move will provide an opportunity for young people to participate and contribute to the vibrancy of the town centre.

While going businesses going cashless with improve the shopping experience for customers.

And the access to free internet should lead to increased use of social media and assist business retention and development.

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