Free public Wi-Fi for Oadby & Wigston

Oadby & Wigston Borough Council has installed networks to increase connectivity and foster economic growth in town centres. 

In recent years, the decline of the traditional high street has been put down to factors such as online shopping and out-of-town retail. Now, a local council in Leicestershire is using online access to support businesses in towns.

blue and black iphone case

Photo by Franck


The new service is quick and easy to access. Users simply select the ‘Free Wi-Fi’ option from the list on their smartphone or other digital device. There’s no requirement to register – or to pay for access. 

The scheme originates in research that shows how free Wi-Fi can increase the time visitors spend in a town centre. This means they’re likely to engage more with local businesses and community events and activities. 

Free Wi-Fi also supports efforts to reduce digital exclusion and ensure people are able to access the internet to better help themselves. That includes being able to access the council’s existing supprot and information. 

In fact, with the free Wi-Fi networks in place, the council can offer further support. Later this year, it will launch its ‘OW Local’ app. This will highlight local businesses and offer exclusive deals to users – encouraging further engagement. 

Local businesses have quickly welcomed the scheme. Rose Linnett, owner of Buddies Wigston and Chair of  Wigston Business Group, says: ‘People like to be connected and that’s why the free Wi-Fi is really valuable in our town centres. 

‘Giving people this incentive to spend longer in our towns will only benefit the borough’s businesses, positioning our high streets as a destination to work, socialise or relax as visitors have everything they need.’ 

Cllr Lee Bentley, Deputy Leader of Oadby & Wigston Borough Council, adds: ‘Offering free Wi-Fi is a great opportunity to expand our appeal and draw people into our town centres, providing a boost for local businesses while delivering a more convenient experience to shoppers. 

‘In an increasingly digital age it is important that our offer keeps our visitors and businesses connected, and the anonymous data that the service provides on footfall and visitor’s habits will be able to help us to plan our future town centre strategies to further increase growth. 

‘The free networks also contribute to digital inclusion and provide an important service to those who don’t have Wi-Fi connectivity in their home, allowing them the chance to get online to access vital services.’

In related news:

E-cargo bike trial for businesses in Bristol 

Grants of up to £25,000 help Nottingham go greener 

Tackling Wakefield’s digital divide with cafes and free laptops


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