Chiltern District Council and Virgin Media have joined forces to blanket Chesham’s high street with superfast WiFi.
The unlimited WiFi service is available to residents, businesses and visitors passing through the centre of Chesham and the service even covers parts of Lowndes Park.
The new network can provide speeds of up to 166Mbps, seven times the average UK broadband speed, and will be delivered directly from Virgin Media’s street cabinets and the UK’s first ever Smart Pavement.
People can connect by selecting “Virgin Media WiFi” within the WiFi settings on their device.
Chiltern District Council’s cabinet member for customer services and Chesham Town Councillor Cllr Fred Wilson said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring a UK first to Chesham with Virgin Media’s ultrafast WiFi, helping local people and businesses get online. Efficient connectivity is pivotal to running businesses today and I am proud we are part of a project which is crossing new boundaries.”
Co-founder of Better Chesham Martin Parkes, who owns Flix, said: “It’s great that our customers have access to Virgin Media’s public Wi-Fi both in and outside our salon. We’re a very unique high street with many independent shops so we don’t have the IT infrastructure that big chains benefit from. This will hugely help levelling the playing field and will hopefully bring more people to Chesham too.”
Chesham and Amersham MP Cheryl Gillan said: “The internet is at the heart of modern life and it is brilliant to have such a cutting edge network in Chesham and to be right at the vanguard of connectivity in the UK. It’ll keep the community connected, help Chesham people save some money on their mobile bill and could be a key piece of the jigsaw in connected cities moving forward.”
Virgin Media chose to work with Chiltern District Council and Chesham in particular as the local authority is ‘innovative’ and ‘actively engaged’ with the local people in trying to find ways to enhance the area for both residents and businesses. In addition, Virgin Media says there is a significant presence of independent businesses in the town centre that allow for local level discussions when piloting new ideas and technology.
Managing director of consumer at Virgin Media Gregor McNeil said: “Not only is this the first time we’ve built metropolitan WiFi directly from our street cabinets, it’s also the UK’s first deployment of a WiFi connected pavement. It’s literally public WiFi under your feet. We want to build more networks like this across the UK and encourage more forward thinking councils just like Chesham to get in touch.”