Downtown to offer free Wi-Fi later this month

Published 4:19 pm Friday, May 11, 2018

Beginning May 21, residents will have one more reason to visit downtown Bainbridge. The city will be offering free Wi-Fi for the downtown district, Willis Park area.

City Manager, Chris Hobby, said the city has been working on finding a way to provide free Wi-Fi to downtown for a long time now. When the city first purchased fiber services 10 years ago, the technology wasn’t there to provide the service and Hobby wasn’t confident with any other options. However, the City now thinks the technology is in the right place to provide residents and visitors with a strong, speedy, free network.

While the network will be free, Hobby wants to remind users that the network will be unsecured and used for open access to all. This means data services can use cookies and other tracking devices to view history. However, there will be no restrictions on what one is allowed to view.

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Hobby hopes this will drive the traffic downtown and encourage families to let their children do their homework in the park or allow working individuals to get out of the office and take their work outside.

The Wi-Fi will be strongest in the central Willis Park area, but extends two blocks in both directions of Shotwell Street. Hobby said the Wi-Fi won’t be as strong through walls, so inside a store will be slower than if one was just walking around outside.

Hobby hopes this will improve the quality of life downtown and be an added bonus for visitors who want to look up information about the restaurants and shops surrounding them.

In celebration of this technology milestone, the City will host a kickoff in Willis Park on May 22, with complimentary ice cream. They will be cutting the cord and ask that people bring their phones, i-Pads or laptops to test out. The event will take place from 4-6 p.m. and the City hopes to see everyone there.