More pubs and cafes need to throw their weight behind Marlborough’s bid to host the first free-to-use community wi-fi project, business leaders have been told.
And to encourage business premises to get involved, Marlborough Area Development Trust – the body behind the scheme – is offering free routers to commercial partners.
The ambitious plans were unveiled in June 2011 by MADT’s then-chairman, Martin Cook, and IT consultant Geoff Brickell.
And in August that year MADT, with the support of the Chamber of Commerce, called for traders to purchase a router and pay a subscription towards the upkeep of the service.
But there were no takers, with many outlets pointing out they already offered free wi-fi for customers.
Now, 15 months after the launch, MADT is offering free kit and installation to fill in significant gaps in coverage (see map).
The drive is being led by Bob Holman, proprietor of The Food Gallery and – so far – the only commercial partner of the scheme, with the Town Hall providing coverage at the other end of town.
He told members of Marlborough Chamber of Commerce: “We need just six businesses along the High Street to say yes to the idea.
“Even if you already offer your own wi-fi you’ll be helping Marlborough to be the first High Street in the UK to offer free-to-use community wi-fi to both visitors and residents.
“This will attract more visitors to the town, and to your premises.
“A small router will be plugged in to the existing router of partners. When a visitor or resident selects this as their preferred router, a splash page pops up on their smart phone, tablet or laptop browser.
“And if they click ‘access now’ they get 20 free minutes of fast internet access.
“An annual pass will also be made available, offering unlimited web browsing for £10 a year. Every commercial partner will receive two free annual passes.”
Anyone interested in becoming part of the scheme can contact Bob at The Food Gallery, or email him at email@example.com For more information about the scheme, log on to www.marlborougharea.org/Community+WiFi