PUBLIC buildings throughout Ennis including the library, museum and Glór, could be set to become wi-fi hotspots, Clare County Council have confirmed.
Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey has in recent months raised the prospect of free public wi-fi hotspots being provided in the county in an effort to help create jobs and support business and tourism locally.
This follows the creation of jobs in Dublin by a Spanish company called Gowex who are wi-fi specialists.
That company worked with Dublin City Council to provide free Wi-Fi in the city, and Deputy Carey believes there is potential for Clare to examine similar partnerships and models.
Clare County Council in correspondence with Deputy Carey expressed doubt that there would be enough uptake to justify involvement of a private sector company in providing a service in Ennis. However, the local authority have stated they intend if possible to install WiFi hotspots in public buildings throughout the county capital.
Deputy Carey commented, “Earlier this year, I noticed a statement from Dublin City Council announcing they were providing free wi-fi at designated spots around the city. The service is free and is provided at no cost to Dublin City Council by Spanish company Gowex, who declared their interest in laying the foundation of a wireless smart city.
“I made contact with Jenaro García, CEO at Gowex, and asked if he would consider providing similar infrastructure in County Clare, and whether there was potential for jobs to be created with the roll-out of a similar scheme in the west.
“I subsequently made contact with Clare County Council and asked that they would follow up,” stated Deputy Carey.
The proposal was examined by Clare County Council, with Tom Coughlan county manager confirming the local authority’s intention to install wi-fi hot spots in public buildings throughout Ennis.
Deputy Carey stated, “I welcome this development as a positive first step in the provision of wi-fi to County Clare but would encourage Clare County Council to go further.
“Free Wi-Fi will for example enable tourists upload pictures from some of our best-known tourist spots, and thereby help to further promote County Clare worldwide. There is also potential for local businesses to create and develop digital tourist aids, and a free Wi-Fi scheme would help smartphone users use shopping apps, social networks or check maps while they are visiting. I also believe, given Ennis’s past as an Information Age Town, that we should be leading the way in terms of new technologies. In recent weeks, Killarney became the first town in Ireland to offer free Wi-Fi, and I want to ensure we continue to lead the way in terms of new technologies here in County Clare.”