Free Wi-Fi is now live across the city centre in a project that will play a major role in welcoming back shoppers, tourists and those wanting a drink or bite to eat when lockdown restrictions are eased later this year.
In 2018, as part of Canterbury BID’s consultation period, we asked local businesses what priorities we should be putting into our Business Plan for 2019-2024. The number one priority identified during the consultation was connectivity, both with Wi-Fi and 4/5G. This was followed up in 2019 with a customer survey where two thirds of respondents (including. 44% ‘very dissatisfied’) indicated their dissatisfaction with internet connectivity in the city centre.
We have been working in partnership with Canterbury City Council to find a cost effective way of creating a digitally friendly city.
Canterbury City Council has been overseeing a £700,000 project with BT to upgrade the district’s ageing CCTV cameras, servers and control room. By combining this project with the installation of Wi-Fi, we can now boast 46 city centre Wi-Fi hotspots.
Canterbury BID is co-funding the Wi-Fi part of the project to a sum of £26,000 which has enabled the expansion of coverage across the city and will contribute towards running costs.
At a time when we are looking forward to welcoming visitors back onto the high street, putting the visitor experience front and centre with free WiFi makes it more likely people will stay for longer and will be keen to combine business with leisure or vice versa.
Helping our customers have the information they need at their fingertips for free, for example to connect with friends or find a certain shop, is a big boost for the city’s businesses of all sectors.
As co-funders of the Wi-Fi project, Canterbury BID will have access to a data dashboard. This system will provide us with insights into footfall, Wi-Fi usage and how people enjoy the city so we can all make their experience better and better. We will be sharing this data through our City Centre Reports which can be accessed HERE.
This scheme coincides with the rollout of the free THE LOCALE appwhich tells visitors how busy their favourite shops and restaurants are in real-time and allows business owners to let their valued customers know about the offers or promotions they are running or are about to run. It is free for businesses to sign up. Find out more HERE.