Pelahatchie expands wireless coverage - 09:38 AM - June , 2009
Pelahatchie's free wireless Internet service now covers more territory with its recent expansion this month, town officials say.
New Wi-Fi boxes will provide Internet to the town's schools and the area near Ward's, several months after the town installed them around its downtown area.
"The delivery of information has changed," Mayor Knox Ross said. "There is no better place to access information than schools."
Not only will the town boast more Wi-Fi coverage, but also cameras are being placed around downtown. The cameras can be watched from the town's Web site, www.pelahatchie.org.
"If you want to watch the Christmas Parade, and you're away from Pelahatchie, you can pull it up (on the Web site)," Ross said.
The cameras should be up and running shortly, the mayor said. The Internet is already available.
The town plans on putting up signs to let residents and visitors know of the free Wi-Fi service, he said.
Ross said the Wi-Fi is a marketing tool when it comes to attracting businesses to the 1,500-person town.
"It gives us one more thing to differentiate ourselves from everybody else," he said. "A lot of work we are doing is in anticipation."
Included in the town's umbrella of Wi-Fi is: the downtown area (a four-block footprint bordered by Church, Rhodes, First and Munsterman streets), the town's business district along Mississippi 43, East Rankin Academy and Pelahatchie Attendance Center.
Ross said the upkeep is about $100 per month. The newest installment of Wi-Fi boxes cost the town $2,000. The first installments for the downtown boxes cost about $5,000.
Ross got the idea from Rankin First Economic Development Authority's executive director, Tom Troxler, who said he read about out-of-state municipalities that offered Wi-Fi.
"I thought Knox being the creative-type mayor, he might want to try it," Troxler said. "The computer, the Internet, the wireless technology is the newest, latest technology driving force of businesses."
The mayor said he has been investigating Wi-Fi options for several years but was unhappy with price tags that neared $50,000 for installation.
Ross, an avid camper, noticed campgrounds about the same size as a town's center often offer Wi-Fi.
"I know they didn't pay $50,000 for Internet," Ross said.
Ross then called Pelahatchie's new campground, Jellystone Park, where he got information about Web Werks, the company that installed the cameras and Wi-Fi boxes.
(From article in Rankin Ledger by Justin Fritscher)
Bold dates denote events.