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Free WiFi is a hit with Barnstaple shoppers

15:34 24 March 2016

A trial of free WiFi in Barnstaple town centre has been deemed a success. Picture: Submitted

A trial of free WiFi in Barnstaple town centre has been deemed a success. Picture: Submitted

Archant

Successful trial could lead to permanent scheme in town centre.

Martin Masters of M&E Alarms; North Devon Councillor Pat Barker; Mike Matthews of Lineal; and Barnstaple Town Centre Manager Hannah Harrington at the launch in December. Picture: Andy KeebleMartin Masters of M&E Alarms; North Devon Councillor Pat Barker; Mike Matthews of Lineal; and Barnstaple Town Centre Manager Hannah Harrington at the launch in December. Picture: Andy Keeble

A trial of free WiFi in Barnstaple town centre has been hailed a success.

At peak usage, more than 400 people were connecting to the ‘Barnstaple Free’ network during a pilot scheme run during December and January.

Anonymous data collected by 13 WiFi access points installed across the town centre recorded that on the busiest shopping days before Christmas, more than 20,000 wirelessly enabled devices were detected in the town centre each day.

Visitors were initially redirected to the Barnstaple Town Centre website, publicising information about local businesses and nearby events.

North Devon company Lineal Software Solutions, which organised the trial with help from North Devon Council (NDC), Barnstaple Town Centre Management (BTCM) and M&E Alarms, said the results were ‘extremely promising.’

Managing director Mike Matthews said: “We’ve proven the network is not only technically possible, but has great potential to reach local people.”

NDC and BTCM are now understood to be considering how best to make such a scheme a permanent addition to the town.

Councillor Pat Barker, the council’s member for economic development member, said: “Free WiFi in the town centre was welcomed by both businesses and visitors.

“We hope the scheme can become a permanent fixture now it has been shown to be a success.”

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