Free public wi-fi network set to go live in Saffron Walden next year

CHECKING e-mails, logging onto Facebook and browsing websites on the go is about to get easier thanks to the launch of a new free public wi-fi network going live at the beginning of next year.

Businesses, tourists and residents are all expected to benefit from the “exciting new community project” which would allow laptop, smartphone and iPad users to connect to the internet from anywhere in the town centre.

The scheme is the brainwave of Saffron Walden technology firm Force 36 and the town is believed to be one of the first in the country pioneering such a state-of-the-art approach.

“It is quite a unique idea that we have been working on for the last three or four years,” Force 36’s director, Richard Swain, told the Reporter.

“Projects of this nature have been deployed successfully and frequently in America, while 02 rolled out a free public wi-fi in parts of London for the Olympics and it worked brilliantly.

“But for a town of this size it is quite a unique concept and an exciting thing to be involved in.”

The first pieces of equipment are beginning to go up around town but the service is not expected to be launched until the testing phase is complete – expected to be around January next year.

Most Read

Once live, users trying to access the service will see the ‘Force 36 Free Public wi-fi network’ pop up under the list of connections on their device. An e-mail address will be required to log on and a welcome message advertising local businesses will be displayed once connected.

“We are relying on the goodwill of property owners and businesses to allow us to put the equipment up on the outside of their premises and expand the service further,” Mr Swain added.

“Obviously we’ve launched the project to raise our profile but as a local company based in the town we also want to give something back to Saffron Walden and the people we work and deal with as well.

“Any money we make from the project will be ploughed back in to invest and improve the equipment and make the network even better.”

Thousands of pounds will be spent on the new project and Force 36 is looking for more businesses in the town to get behind it.