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Mansfield funding free wifi project through “crowdfunding”

glassy wifi symbolA project to provide the town centre of Mansfield in Nottinghamshire with free wifi is on track to meet its target fund after setting out to be “crowdfunded”, according to an E-Government Bulletin report.

The “Make Mansfield Your HotSpot” project has been developed by Mansfield Business Improvement District, a partnership between the council and the local business community.

The fundraising is being hosted by Spacehive, an online platform to allow citizens and local organisations to fund neighbourhood development projects. So far £36,363 has been raised for the town centre wifi project. The project has a target goal of £37,715, which it aims to reach by May 2013.

The project’s aim is to provide free wifi for visitors to Mansfield Town to ensure Mansfield remains competitive with neighbouring towns. Alongside free wifi, the project aims to provide signage with Quick Response (QR) codes that visitors can scan and be directed to information about the town, from the history of certain buildings and areas to what events may be happening in the town.

The project will:

  • Install routers on lamp posts to provide wifi;
  • Market the free wifi to visitors, giving access to the Mansfield Town app on Android and iOS smartphones;
  • Give funders a thank you certificate showing their contribution towards the community wifi;
  • Offer advertising space for businesses;
  • Run workshops for visitors to the town on how to access / use the wifi in the town.
image of Mansfield marketplace
Mansfield’s marketplace. Soon with added wifi? Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It is hoped that free wifi will encourage visitors to stay longer in Mansfield and give them access to free information about the town and its history, shopping offers or the latest events. Free wifi could also open up opportunities for independent retailers and market traders.