The number of Irish towns offering free public Wi-Fi is set to grow again as Magnet Networks reveals five new locations for access to its network.
Given the noticeably poor average standard of broadband in rural areas of Ireland, there was considerable optimism that the gap between these areas and major cities, in terms of connectivity, is set to narrow following the launch of the European Commission’s €120m WiFi4EU initiative last month.
As part of the agreement, up to 15 local authorities in Ireland can apply for vouchers up to the value of €15,000 to fund the set-up of free Wi-Fi hotspots in town and village centres, libraries, museums, and public parks or squares.
In the meantime, a number of network providers have stepped into the fray to offer towns a similar service in their main squares, such as Virgin Media’s plan for a number of other towns across the country revealed in February.
Now, Magnet Networks has revealed the latest cohort of towns to be offered a similar service which, the company said, will give locals and tourists unlimited access to speeds of up to 100Mbps.
Two more locations to be announced
Announcing the scheme, the network provider said the towns include Sligo, Westport, Monaghan, Knock and Carrick-On-Shannon town centres, with two further locations in Kerry and Donegal yet to be announced.
Carrick-on-Shannon will be the first town to go live this week with Sligo, Knock and Monaghan commencing in June and the remaining towns going live by August.
Magnet Networks said that each access point in the town has a 150-metre range for a high-quality signal.
The company’s aim is to agree sponsorship deals with local companies by requiring the user to register in the first instance and then every follow-up login would include an advertisement for one of those businesses.
“For example, if a local restaurant sponsored the Wi-Fi, they would be able to send out a coupon at a set time to everyone who has logged on that day, giving them 10pc off,” said Magnet Networks CEO Mark Kellett.
This initiative follows on from the company’s public-private partnership in Galway whereby it worked with local businesses to create a Wi-Fi corridor from the Spanish Arch to Eyre Square.