Balbriggan town centre gets 100Mbps free Wi-Fi

9 Apr 2019

From left: Cllr Anthony Lavin, Magnet Networks’ Philip Clapperton and Fingal County Council CEO Paul Reid. Image: Fintan Clarke

Businesses and locals unite to kick-start a digital vision for a north Dublin seaside town.

Balbriggan’s town centre has become a free public Wi-Fi zone, providing locals and visitors with unlimited access to speeds of up to 100Mbps.

The scheme was officially launched in the past week by the mayor of Fingal, Cllr Anthony Lavin.

‘As Ireland’s youngest town, we have the highest percentage of digital natives in the country’

Local businesses along the route have allowed Magnet Networks to install access points on their premises, providing seamless connectivity within the town centre.

A vision for tomorrow

“As Ireland’s youngest town, we have the highest percentage of digital natives in the country,” said Prof Brian MacCraith, president of Dublin City University and chair of the Balbriggan Leadership Group.

“The free Our Balbriggan Wi-Fi provided by Magnet Networks will be critical to attracting people and businesses to a reimagined town centre and helping us meet future challenges.”

MacCraith added that 4,000 Balbriggan residents aged over 11 recently took part in the Our Balbriggan survey to prioritise a list of suggested improvements for a €20m-plus transformation of the town.

“Transforming the Main Street and connecting it to a reimagined harbour area topped the board across all age groups in the survey, and our implementation plan will be published at the start of May,” said Lavin, referring to the survey.

The launch of Balbriggan’s town centre Wi-Fi forms part of Fingal County Council’s wider Public Wi-Fi Plan, which envisions the roll-out of free public Wi-Fi hotspots to town and village centres across the county.

The plan also incorporates the roll-out of the Smart Bench pilot, supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development. A number of solar-powered, Wi-Fi-enabled benches with wireless charging facilities and environmental sensors will be deployed in a number of locations across the county, the first of which have been deployed in Balbriggan.

“The beauty of Magnet Networks’ free Wi-Fi is that you only need to register once, so business visitors and tourists will automatically enjoy free connectivity for their entire stay,” said Magnet Networks managing director for Ireland, Stephen Brewer.

“As the project is financed by giving local businesses the opportunity to sponsor the Wi-Fi and send promotional offers, local users and visitors can be directed to attractions or places to eat and drink.

“For example, if a local restaurant sponsors the Wi-Fi, they are able to send out a coupon at a set time to everyone who has logged on that day, giving them 10pc off,” Brewer added.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years