Laois County Council launch Free Public WIFI in Portlaoise Town on Monday 30th May 2022 @ 10am in advance of the Laois County Council Monthly meeting.

The Cathaoirleach, Cllr Conor Bergin welcomed Councillors and invited guests on the Plaza of Laois County Council to formally switch on free public WIFI in Portlaoise town which will provide free access to Wi-Fi connectivity for citizens in the County Town in public spaces such as The Plaza Co Hall, Hynds Square, Market Square, Fitzmaurice Place amongst others in the town centre.

This is provided as part of an European Initiative WIFI4EU which promotes free WIFI within public spaces across the municipalities of the European Union.

The project is funded through the EU, to promote access to Wi-Fi connectivity in public spaces in municipalities throughout Europe, 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.

Free WIFI in the town of Portlaoise is designed to enhance the public realm in the town and encourage people to come into the town centre and avail of all the services in tandem with this free service.

The Project has been carried out by Mr. Gerry Buckley and his team from NIS Ltd based in Midlands, on behalf of Laois County Council who have installed the infrastructure to deliver the Service. We wish to thank him and his team for their engagement with all stakeholders and timely roll out of the service.

Antoinette Brennan, The Broadband Officer stated this is a very exciting day for the town of Portlaoise as it is the very first time LCC 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. We would like to thank them for coming on board to support this initiative and in doing so have facilitated Laois County Council with access to Broadband. In Portlaoise there are 12 outdoor access points. She also thanked The EU and Department of Rural Community Department for funding this project and to Gerry Buckley and his team in NIS for the prompt rollout.

Accessing WIFI4EU is a straightforward process that does not require the user to input any personal information or passwords. Users connect wirelessly to the WIFI4EU network and agree to the Terms and Conditions. As part of the implementation, all safeguards in relation to web content filtering will be put in place. This will ensure that only content deemed to be safe can be viewed on the internet by users.

The project will continue to be rolled out in the various towns and villages in the remaining Municipal Districts over the summer period – in Portarlington, Stradbally, Abbeyleix, Mountmellick, Mountrath, Camross.

Angela McEvoy, Director of Services Laois County Council stated : 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.

Caroline Hofman Chief Executive of Laois Chamber stated:  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.

Gerry Buckley NIS stated:  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.

Jake Ryan, Principal Officer DRCD stated : He thanked LCC for the invitation to the Launch and stated the Department of Rural and Community Department were very supportive of this EU initiative and how the DRCD were dedicated to the joint funding of this project. He was delighted to know how important WIFI4EU is for the town of Portlaoise.

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