The Consett McDonalds restaurant was recently in the mainstream news for being ranked third in the UK for Wi-Fi download usage out of all the McDonalds restaurants in the UK. Interestingly, the restaurant was the runner up to two major McDonald’s restaurants in highly populated areas of London on Holloway Road and the Dartford Priory Shopping Centre. The town of Consett only has roughly 20,000 homes, but ranked above the Wi-Fi usage from restaurants in very high populated areas of London and Wigan.
It was noted in the recent news story that the high Wi-Fi usage for the Consett restaurant could have been due to the restaurant being close to the local college as well as the slower broadband speeds in many homes in the nearby area. The Wi-Fi usage in the McDonalds restaurant could be from the teenagers in the area using their mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads, android smart phones, tablet computers, and other internet devices.
One cold night in December, I went to McDonalds to find the restaurant full of young people congregating into small groups. It was at this moment I realised almost every person in the restaurant was holding a mobile phone, while only a few people in the restaurant had a coke or a burger. Perhaps these young people frequent the restaurant on a daily basis, and so the Wi-Fi usage in the Consett McDonald’s is being accessed at an increasingly rapid rate.
McDonald’s restaurants throughout the UK introduced free Wi-Fi to their customers and it seems if these young people are coming to use the Wi-Fi then perhaps it is a sign of times to come; will Wi-Fi be available just to keep customers coming back to restaurants? The youth of Consett realise how fast and easily accessible free Wi-Fi can be, and so they take full advantage of the free internet connection.
Fast internet speeds are few and far between in the small suburbs around Consett. Parts of Medomsley have only a half Meg connection whereas the centre of Consett has a 20 Meg connection. Even though Medomsley is only 2.8 miles away from Consett town centre, the internet connection speed is around 40 times slower.
As the internet in Consett is quite slow; it comes as no surprise that the data hungry youth choose to go to McDonalds for their daily Facebook fix. As smart phones begin to eat more and more data, the need for Wi-Fi will increase as can be seen in this small town fast food joint in the hills of Co. Durham.
The Government is providing £7.79 million to Co.Durham to implement broadband in the county.
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For more information on “Digital Durham” visit: http://www.durham.gov.uk/Pages/Service.aspx?ServiceId=8540