High Street Gets Connected
Works are due to get underway to set up a free Wi-Fi zone, which will provide connectivity through the marketplace, along King Street and along Ocean Road.
Installation of the necessary infrastructure will begin in the coming weeks. Cultural venue, The Word, on the town's Market Square, will act as a communications hub, while a series of access points and radio receivers will be fitted on to existing lampposts.
It is hoped the pilot project will enhance the visitor experience and give local businesses a boost to help them bounce back from Covid, in line with the Council's key priority of supporting town centres and high streets.
C>Ways Ltd will has been selected to provide the network, following a competitive tender exercise.
Residents and visitors will receive a push notification informing them that a free Wi-Fi network is available. They will be greeted with a welcome message and can opt to receive information in one of 34 different languages.
Cllr Mark Walsh, Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy, said: "We hope this will complement the ongoing regeneration of South Shields town centre by improving the visitor and shopping experience, driving footfall and encouraging people to stay longer and spend more.
"It'll enable us to capture valuable data to support post-pandemic recovery, allowing us to promote events and our tourism offer, as well as working alongside retail and hospitality businesses to offer visitors discounts and incentives.
"In an ever-more digital world, it's important that people can stay connected even when they're on the move.
"Now residents, visitors and workers will be able to check their emails, look up travel arrangements, book tickets or just connect with friends, all free of charge and without using up their data allowance."
The £50,000 scheme is being funded through the Government's Welcome Back Fund, to help high streets to bounce back from the pandemic
Nick Jackson, Managing Director of C>Ways, said: "We are pleased that South Tyneside Council has chosen us to be part of this fantastic project, that not only connects people and businesses but helps to provide relevant information, offers and free Wi-Fi to visitors on the move.
"We hope visitors to South Shields will make full use of the service and bring benefit to both people and businesses of South Tyneside."