An increase in consumer spending online has been a major factor.
Shoppers and visitors in Scunthorpe and Brigg town centres can now access free Wi-Fi on the high street, after the council invested £20,000 in new technology.
Yorkshire-based Internet service provider Quickline Communications will install and manage the service on behalf of North Lincolnshire Council.
This is part of a raft of schemes the council will be putting in place in a bid to improve the town centres and encourage people to stay in town longer.
Visitors to Scunthorpe and Brigg will have access to free Wi-Fi for up two hours. The technology is quick and easy to access, with a simple one-time registration on the portal using any mobile device.
Cllr Neil Poole, cabinet member for Policy and Resources, said: "More and more people are using smart phones and handheld devices to access the internet. Now visitors to the town centres will be able to browse the Internet for free. Many people rely on the internet and are more likely to stay in the town centres for longer if they can access wireless Internet."
"It is very simple to use, you only have to register once and then you can access it as many times as you like up to two hours a day."
"Wi-Fi is just one of the ways we are looking at enhancing the town centres and we are working with traders todiscuss the different options available."
Steve Jagger, MD of Quickline, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded the Brigg and Scunthorpe town centre Wi-Fi contract. Traders on the high-street are well aware that more and more people are shopping online, but in real life, we can’t meet friends for a coffee or to have lunch via the Internet. I believe that town centres focussing more on lifestyle than retail will become more popular with visitors and attract out-of-towners too."
"In some authorities, town traders and other businesses are clubbing together to self-finance projects for free visitor wifi. The fact that North Lincolnshire Council is funding this project demonstrates a forward thinking authority that embraces new technology. By offering a free add-on such as the wifi very much supports an urban concept of the future."