East Suffolk looks to smart towns

Written by Sam Trendall on 29 September 2020 in News
News

Felixstowe, Beccles and Saxmundham are to benefit from increased connectivity and data-gathering

Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Archive/PA Images

A collection of towns on the Suffolk coast are to become “smart towns” with public connectivity and data-gathering.

Last year East Suffolk Council, which oversees an array of small towns and villages, trialled its Digital Towns project in Framlingham, where the authority rolled out public WiFi and “a whole host of other digital and technological solutions”.

The council is now expanding the scheme across another 11 towns in the region. Each of these will soon offer free wireless internet for use by visitors to the centre of the town. Alongside which will be “footfall-tracking technology” allowing the authority and local businesses to better understand visitor trends.

The council has published a prior information notice seeking a supplier to fulfil a four-year engagement to provide the connectivity infrastructure and data-gathering software.

The chosen provider will be asked to “deliver the infrastructure required by market towns in East Suffolk to provide a free WiFi service in areas of each town”.


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In addition to Framlingham, the other towns covered by the project are Aldeburgh, Beccles, Bungay, Felixstowe, Halesworth, Leiston, Lowestoft, Saxmundham, Southwold (pictured above), Wickham Market and Woodbridge.

“This will include a mixture of 100% lease of equipment over a set time frame, upfront purchase of equipment or a mix of both dependent on the towns concerned,” the authority said.

Once the network is up and running, the firm will be asked to “provide anonymised data to East Suffolk Council regarding user demographics, footfall in the town and district wide trends and analysis”.

Ahead of the publication of a contract notice, the authority is hosting a virtual “pre-market engagement” event at 2pm on 9 October.

Once this has taken place and a tender process has been undertaken, the aim is to sign a contract with the chosen supplier on 1 January.

After the rollout is completed in the 12 towns selected, the council has indicated that other, smaller towns and villages may also be added to the programme.

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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