CHORLEY Council is looking to introduce public Wi-Fi in Chorley town centre as the authority continues its drive to develop the shopping areas and give them a long term future.

The authority is looking to bring the 4G technology to all parts of the town centre as part of its digital strategy to encourage more people to get online.

It also complements the £16million to transform the shopping areas bringing a cinema, M&S Foodhall and new restaurants and retailers to the town centre.

Cllr Adrian Lowe, who is responsible for Chorley’s digital strategy said: “Getting Wi-Fi in Chorley would be a very exciting step which would enhance the town’s ability to cater to the needs of the modern public.

“The majority of people now use the internet on their phones or tablets to access social media, instant messages, emails, and there’s the added benefit of using things like Google maps.

“This would be a major bonus for Chorley town centre as visitors could connect to the Wi-Fi and continue to use their phones to their benefit, whether that is sending a work email or using directions to find their way around the centre if they are a visitor.

“We’re looking to secure funding for the public Wi-Fi and we’ll be sharing further updates once we have them.”

Chorley town centre is already seeing a lot of development, including improvements to car parks, new car parks and building works, including the Market Walk extension.

Four out of 5 adults now own a smartphone and being connected without limits on data usage is important for Chorley residents and businesses.

The authority plans to have the first stage of Wi-Fi installed by Christmas this year, and will cover the existing Market Walk and Covered Markets providing public Wi-Fi from the bus and train interchanges to popular town centre destinations and will include Astley Park when it is fully rolled out.

Connecting will be free at the point of access and common platforms such as Facebook will be used for sign on.

Chorley Council already provides a lot of digital courses which teach people the basics of getting online to the more difficult skills for the future tech savvy generation.

Providing Wi-Fi in the town centre will fall in line with the skills that people are learning as it will mean they will have more access to the internet when they are out and about.

“If we aren’t successful with the funding we will still go ahead and install the Wi-Fi in the town centre, which the council will pay for.” added Councillor Lowe.

“As development has been progressing in the town centre we have been pro-active and have installed some network points across the centre to prepare for the Wi-Fi.”

A further update on the process, including funding, the area where the Wi-Fi will be, and the time scales it will be implemented will be shared publically once there is more information.