Concern over wireless vandalism

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Derry City Council says ongoing vandalism to equipment that provides free wireless connections is causing serious problems for businesses and homes across the city.

Wireless City Project Officer for Derry City Council, Louise Breslin, said the ongoing damage was merely causing severe disruption to a popular service for homes and businesses. “The Wireless service is a real asset to the community and we have had a lot of feedback from people in the area who are now missing out because some of the hubs are out of action.

“The equipment was installed at these locations as part of the Wireless City programme which delivers wireless services to a number of local businesses, as well as residents and tourists throughout the city. One of its many benefits is that anyone with a wireless enabled device such as a laptop, PDA or a Smartphone can use the network free of charge for up to an hour. This service is essential in maintaining the city’s position at the forefront of delivering first rate digital services, and therefore it is essential that we keep this equipment in operation.”

Local householders, businesses and visitors can avail of an hour’s free internet usage thanks to the equipment which has been installed as part of the Wireless City Project by Derry City Council. But in recent months many of the nodes have been disabled or damaged, resulting in a loss of service.

A local community worker has also appealed for an end to the vandalism being carried out particularly in and around the Fountain area. Fountain Youth Club leader Jeannette Warke, highlighting the importance of the hubs, said they are essential to the delivery of wireless connectivity in the city centre and surrounding areas.

Ms Warke, appealing to young people in the area to be aware of the disruption they are causing, said: “I would call on all those engaged in this anti-social activity to think about the fact they are disrupting a vital community service, which is used by both the public and businesses alike. I will be addressing the issue with some of the young people and trying to raise awareness of how important this equipment is in delivering a free wireless connection. Many local people use the service so this type of behavior is a real detriment to the local community. I would also warn that these are electrical devices which, if tampered with, could be extremely dangerous to anyone interfering with them.”

The Wireless City project is funded by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment and the European Union. Interested business owners are advised to contact the Wireless City Project Officer, Louise Breslin, at Derry City Council, Tel 028 7137 6506.

For more information regarding the Wireless City Programme go to www.derrycity.gov/superconnectedderry