Free public Wi-Fi is closer to being a reality in Tumby Bay thanks to a successful grant application to the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.
The application was made by the Tumby Bay Progress Association, with support from Tumby Bay District Council, for a $15,000 grant to go toward establishing free public internet access on the foreshore.
The project will be boosted by a $2500 contribution from the progress association and a $7500 contribution from the council.
Mayor Sam Telfer said it was great news as public Wi-Fi would benefit locals and visitors.
He said towns across South Australia had already benefitted from free Wi-Fi and hopefully Tumby Bay would experience the same benefits.
“It will add to the dynamic of the town and help direct tourists who access the service,” he said.
“Public Wi-Fi is a benefit for visitors and locals alike.”
The council had identified free public Wi-Fi as a tool for attracting and retaining tourists to the township.
A Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula study into the Yankalilla District Council’s use of free Wi-Fi showed the council’s main street business takings had had quarterly income rises of between 1.5 and 3 per cent.
The Wi-Fi will cover the esplanade from the Ritz Cafe to the jetty with further expansions planned to the caravan park and along Spencer Street.
Progress association president John James was excited about the news and said it would be great for senior citizens who accessed the foreshore area.
He said this would be another major development project for the town, along with the recent initiatives of Colour Tumby.
The project will involve installation of an NBN modem, a data package, repeater poles with solar power if needed, and promotional signage.
Mr Telfer said work on the project would hopefully start in the next few months.
The project will be factored into the 2017-18 budget at the council’s next budget review.