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Digital Towns Guidance and Public Wi-Fi Toolkit

The fast past of technological change means that it’s very difficult to suggest good examples and tools for the future of our town centres. However Scotland's Towns Partnership has published two guides which seek to help organisations develop digital portals and services for town centres: a Wi-Fi Toolkit (2020), and Digital Towns Guidance (2017). Read more below.

Wi-Fi Toolkit for Scotland's Public Bodies

Published November 2020, this report provides public bodies with a best-practice Wi-Fi toolkit, containing pragmatic guidance on how wireless connectivity schemes can be designed and deployed.

The contents include:

  • the benefits of public Wi-Fi schemes, drawing upon digital town case studies.
  • the challenges of deploying public Wi-Fi schemes.
  • an overview of additional factors that need to be taken into consideration.
  • a summary of best practice delivery models for future wireless schemes.

Read the WiFi Toolkit report here.

This report was written by Intelligens Consulting Ltd. The report was commissioned by Scotland’s Towns Partnership on behalf of the Scottish Government, with input from Boston Networks.

Digital Towns Guidance

Digital placemaking is in its infancy. Digital Towns Guidance, published by Scotland’s Towns Partnership in 2017, explains the challenges in more detail together with information on case studies at the time, including:

  • Auchterarder: community-led broadband and town Wi-Fi, with information on outcomes.
  • Clarkston, East Renfrewshire: low cost website and social media to support local businesses, managed by the local Business Improvement District. The report has information on the project’s costs, impacts and challenges
  • Elgin: digital destination marketing using website, ebulletins, blog and social media. Information on costs, impacts and challenges can be found in the report.
  • Fort William: town website, with information on impacts, costs, challenges and future developments.
  • Milngavie: public Wi-Fi and town app, with information on outcomes.
  • Paisley: public town centre Wi-Fi, with explanation of how the project was developed.
  • Perth: implementing a holistic digital strategy to promote local businesses via a website, social media and gift card. The report explains some of the costs, impacts and challenges.
  • St Andrews: heritage app, with information on costs and challenges.

Common lessons from these case studies are:

  1. The starting point should always be to audit and build on what you’ve already got.
  2. Think about what you’re trying to achieve.
  3. Hard infrastructure isn’t usually the main challenge, but skills and deployment.

The Cupar and Gorbals examples above are more recent works-in-progress. We are keen to supplement them with others. Please get in touch if you know of an initiative that you’d like to see here!

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