All across the country towns of all sizes are trying to keep their historic downtowns from disappearing. Downtown revitalization is common place, but the methods are very different.
Free wireless internet blankets downtown Plymouth. Whether it’s staying up to date on the latest headlines as you get your haircut, catching up on facebook while at the brass rail, or searching google while you walk around downtown, it is all possible thanks to free wifi.
Brent Martin, from Plymouth Industrial Development Corp., says, “Hopefully it is something that people find attractive. Come downtown, have lunch, go shopping, do your tasks and if you connect you have a free [internet].”
The signal right now carries from Jefferson Street all the way down South LaPorte Street by the viaduct.
Connecting to that signal is snap. “The way it works is it will show up on your device as a network called ‘dctech-pidco.’ First you connect, and then it brings you to a terms and conditions page and allows the user a two hour free trial. Then you are on the network and it doesn't prompt you for user names or passwords or anything like that,” explains Dan Sammartano, of DC Tech Solutions.
While the connection is free, there is a two hour limit that resets every twenty two hours. Users can come back the next day and connect at the exact same time.
Still, if two hours is not enough time, you can buy one hour of wifi for $2 and for $4 you can buy five hours.
While keeping people connected is important, there is a larger goal of this new addition. Martin says, “It is another attempt to foster economic activity.”
Mark Gidley, from Plymouth Industrial Development Corp., says, “It does set us apart and we do feel like we need to do things that set us apart. We see it as a way to attract a person downtown that isn't usually coming downtown. Spend some time in our local eateries and retail spots and create some more activity.”
Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter says, “The downtown is the heart and sole of the city and I really want it to be revitalized. I want it to stay the way it is, but we can always improve on it as well. Downtown is a great part of the city. This is a great step towards a new era of technology.”
Downtown Plymouth’s free wifi is made available through a three-way partnership between the city, the Plymouth Industrial Development Corporation, and DC Tech Solutions.
PID Co. paid for the hardware, DC Tech is providing the bandwidth, and the city is providing the tower space for the equipment. Money that is earned from purchasing extra wireless time goes back to DC Tech to cover bandwidth expenses.