LIMERICK City and County Council is considering providing a free wi-fi area in the centre.
In a written reply to Fine Gael councillor Maria Byrne, the local authority’s economic boss Dr Pat Daly said the provision of a dedicated spot could lead to free wi-fi in other streets in the city.
A wi-fi zone in the city would allow people with a smartphone, tablet or laptop access to the internet without paying a cent in charges.
Cllr Daniel Butler, who seconded the motion, confirmed that both Harvey’s Quay and Howley’s Quay have already been wired for municipal wi-fi.
The infrastructure is ready to roll, hidden in bollards which stop vehicles entering pedestrianised areas.
He hopes other areas like the People’s Park and Colbert station will follow.
City West councillor Byrne says the scheme will be beneficial to tourists.
“I have seen it used in other places. I feel that in terms of a tourist coming to town, or even for someone from the countryside coming, if they want to know what is on in Limerick, or where to go, wi-fi is very important,” Cllr Byrne said.
She Dr Daly’s reply, saying: “It is something which is very important. I was very pleased. It is very positive.”
Cllr Butler said he hopes it will benefit tourists who will not have to pay high ‘data roaming costs’ for information on events.
At Monday’s meeting, Sinn Fein’s northside councillor sounded a warning over potential legal problems under the data protection act associated with providing open-access internet to all.
Limerick City and County Council already provides free wi-fi in its library facilities, as well as in City Hall at Merchant’s Quay and County Hall in Dooradoyle. Limerick will join a number of high-profile cities across the world in offering free public wi-fi, including Barcelona, Boston, Tel-Aviv, New York City, Osaka and Perth.