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Drogheda rolls out free wi-fi across town in regeneration drive

The town centre will be among the first in Ireland to offer blanket wireless access, aiming to tap into the ‘smart economy’.

Shops in Drogheda town centre
Shops in Drogheda town centre
Image: infomatique via Flickr

DROGHEDA WILL BE among the first towns in Ireland to provide blanket free wi-fi, as part of a drive to regenerate the area using new technologies.

Local landlords and businesses pitched in to allow the installation of the service, which it’s hoped will help draw shoppers and businesspeople to the economically troubled town centre.

The initiative is the latest in a series of innovations which have seen Drogheda try and tweet its way out of recession, and get its own iPhone app. The developments are part of a campaign for the RTÉ TV series Local Heroes – A Town Fights Back.

Peter Durnin is the managing director of Image Group, the private company that led the wi-fi effort. “We wanted to give something back,” he said, adding that the idea was “all about bringing vibrancy back into the town.” Durnin continued:

Smart phone usage is on the rise, as is web surfing, social media, and working remotely. It’s difficult to rejuvenate a town unless you can give people a reason to come into it.

He said the town centre-wide wi-fi was the first of its scale in Ireland. “You may get coffee shops and restaurants providing internet access on their premises, but you don’t get free access on a scale like this because initial infrastructure costs are so high.” Durnin estimated the cost of the initiative at €5,000.

Tomorrow also sees the launch of Drogheda’s own iPhone app, called iGuide Drogheda on the Boyne. The free app is designed for both locals and visitors and will include tourism attractions as well as jobs listings.

Read more: Can Drogheda tweet its way out of the recession?>

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Michael Freeman

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