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08 Aug 2022

First Laois town goes live with free public wifi network

First Laois town goes live with free public wifi network

Launch of Wifi4Eu in Portlaoise.

The first of many Laois towns has turned on a new free wifi network.

Everyone in Portlaoise town centre can now get free wifi on their phones and laptops, with a new service now live.

The Laois county town is first to get the Wifi4Eu network up and running.

This summer it will also be rolled out in Portarlington, Stradbally, Abbeyleix, Mountmellick, Mountrath and Camross.

Accessing WIFI4EU is easy.  Users will get a prompt on their device to ask if they want to connect wirelessly to the WIFI4EU network, and to agree to terms and conditions. No personal information or passwords are needed. Safeguards are in place to ensure that only safe internet content can be viewed.

Laois County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Conor Bergin formally launched the Free Public WIFI in Portlaoise Town on Monday May 30, in the plaza beside county hall, one of the public spaces where people can avail of the service.

It is also accessible in Hynds Square, Market Square, Fitzmaurice Place and along Main Street.

Below: Laois County Councillors, Portlaoise traders and council staff launching Wifi4Eu in Portlaoise.

Free WIFI in towns is designed to enhance the public realm and encourage people to come into the town centre and avail of all other services.

Antoinette Brennan is Laois Broadband Officer.

"This is a very exciting day for the town of Portlaoise as it is the very first time Laois County Council can offer free WIFI in public places throughout the town. This would not have been possible without the support of local businesses that are among locations servicing their area," she said.

In all 12 Portlaoise businesses allowed the wifi boxes to be erected on their premises.

The council was grant aided as part of the European WIFI4EU Initiative to promote free WIFI within public spaces across the municipalities of the European Union.

The project is funded through the EU, with matching funding provided by the Department of Rural and Community Development for WIFI installation. Laois County Council expresses their gratitude to both funding partners on this, without which it would not have been possible. 

Installation was carried out by Gerry Buckley and his team from NIS Ltd based the in Midlands, on behalf of Laois County Council and Ms Brennan thanked him for engagement with all stakeholders and the timely roll out of the service. 

She also thanked The EU and Department of Rural Community Department for funding the project and to Gerry Buckley and his team in NIS for the prompt rollout.

Angela McEvoy is Director of Services Laois County Council. 

"The WIFI4EU project is designed to enhance the public realm in the town and we offer our thanks to local businesses that are among locations servicing their area," she said.

Caroline Hofman is Chief Executive of Laois Chamber.

"Connectivity throughout the county is more important than ever, and the launch of WIFI4EU is a landmark project for Portlaoise. This project will further enhance connectivity in the town, making Portlaoise an even more attractive place to live, work and visit," she said.

Gerry Buckley is from NIS.

"NIS have worked closely with Laois county council, on engaging with the local businesses and community groups to ensure the project had the maximum impact. We have had great cooperation in working with Laois County Council team lead by Antionette Brennan," he said.

Jake Ryan, Principal Officer at the Department of Rural and Community Development, was on hand and thanked the council for the invitation to the launch. He said that his department is very supportive of the EU initiative is dedicated to the joint funding of it. 

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