Down District Goes Digital with Free Public Wi-Fi


DOWN District’s three major towns have been turned into free public Wi-Fi zones as a boost to shoppers, visitors and town centre businesses.

Ballynahinch, Downpatrick and Newcastle town centres now all provide free Wi-Fi open to laptops, smart phones or any other internet-enabled devices in the area, offering a 24/7 featured free connection for everyone.

The new network will help visitors to the three towns and residents alike, share their pictures and updates of all the events at the touch of a button, whilst keeping up-to-date with the latest news and travel updates. It will provide internet access for people that could not otherwise afford it, help tourists avoid high data roaming charges, and retain local shoppers in the town centres.

The project which is 100% funded by the Department of Social Development has been a great success with over 400 users logging on to the service whilst it was being tested.

[caption id="attachment_40057" align="alignleft" width="330"]There will be free wi-fi in selected areas in Downpatrick, Ballynahinch and Newcastle. There will be free wi-fi in selected areas in Downpatrick, Ballynahinch and Newcastle.[/caption]

Commenting on the new Wi-Fi provision, Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Maria McCarthy said: “Free Wi-Fi in our main towns will bring huge benefits to the District and the ratepayer. This is convenience tool open to everyone; enabling local businesses, visitors and residents to use the internet and download emails on the go or while grabbing a coffee free of charge. There are many similar schemes taking place all over the UK and Down District Council is at the forefront of this technology, as we focus on growth and regeneration in our towns and villages.”

Councillor McCarthy  explained how the service works, saying: “The free Wi-Fi service is very easy to access.  Users of the service can get online after completing a once-only registration process.

“On any Wi-Fi enabled devices simply: 1. Select ‘(Town name) WiFi Spark’ from the list of available wireless networks. 2. Register (first time only) by entering your name and email details on the portal page.”

Approximate areas covered:

  • Ballynahinch – Windmill street, High Street, Harmony Way and Main Street
  • Downpatrick – St Patrick’s Square, The Grove, Market Street, Lower Irish Street, Scotch Street
  • Newcastle –  Downs Road, The Promenade, Main Street, Railway Street.

(The service is free but monitored against excessive downloads / inappropriate material.)