Dartmoor National Park, the protected 368-square-mile area of natural beauty, is to offer public WiFi to visitors. Previously the national park's 2.4 million annual visitors struggled to receive a basic mobile signal but now a Cloud in a Box Wi-Fi solution from The Cloud will provide mobile coverage at the park's three main visitor centres.
Dartmoor National Park faced a number of challenges to bring connectivity to the site. Enticing mobile phone companies to bring full coverage to such a remote area would have required massive amounts of campaigning from the park's authority and it would be difficult for mobile operators to recoup the high level of investment needed. A major concern was also the risk of spoiling the landscape.
Ali Bright, ICT and premises head, said that having a separate network based in the cloud protected the authority's own information as well as allowing the two-strong IT team to hand over responsibility for the new network over to the network provider. The Cloud in a Box kit is designed to allow smaller organisations to offer free WiFi to their customers. A six-month trial was held last summer summer at the park's main visitor centre and will now be rolled out to the two remaining facilities ready for the 2015 season. "WiFi in the visitor centres has opened a whole host of opportunities that allow us to put the visitor at the heart of everything we do. Most importantly, we have been able to do this while also tailoring the roll-out to suit our size and budget," said Bright.