SURFING the web in Stratford will be a lot easier after free wi-fi was installed in the town centre.
It means everyone from businesses to shoppers and tourists to visitors will be able to get online using the Stratford Free WiFi connection.
Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) has introduced the technology, which it says will help people embrace the ‘digital age.’
And despite window stickers only recently being put up to advertise the service, BID manager Karen Wild said it had already proved popular.
She said: “During testing we had hundreds of people using the wi-fi. It just shows how important such things are to anyone out shopping, those coming to Stratford on business or to take in some of our historic sights.
“The company supplying the system said people often log in at this early stage but the numbers they are seeing are unprecedented – they’ve been blown away.”
Neighbouring Rugby had its own free wi-fi switched on last year to coincide with the Rugby World Cup.
But Stratford is the first in the county to incorporate tracker access points, which will allow the footfall in the town to be more accurately measured.
Stratforward will also be able to message users about upcoming events through the system and send out promotions to those who are happy to receive such information.
Those behind the scheme also hope it will allow businesses to better tailor their services to customers.
The project, which has been supported by Stratford District Council and Warwickshire County Council, has cost £50,000 to install.
County councillor Jenny Fradgley, whose Stratford South ward incorporates part of the area covered by the wi-fi, said: “This is a huge year for Stratford and it will be interesting to see what impact this year’s festivals have on footfall in the town.
“While the new system is perfect for all our visitors and people doing business, it will also benefit those living in our historic town – giving residents 21st century facilities.
“Let’s not forget they are the ones who take care of our shops and business all year round.”
The system, which is now live, was installed by Midlands-based Elephant wi-fi.