[October 15, 2003]
Downtown Mount Airy, NC Offering Free Wi-Fi AccessYou never would see Andy or Barney whipping out their laptop computers to communicate with Ellie or Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show, but now in Mount Airy, N.C., hometown of Andy Griffith, folks can communicate via the wireless Internet.
Downtown Mount Airy, Inc. is providing patrons of the historic shopping district with free email and Internet service. Thousands visit Mount Airy, population 8500, in search of the real Mayberry. Now, these visitors can come to Mount Airy armed with their laptops or handheld computers and can sit in the Snappy Lunch or Floyd’s City Barber Shop and email their family and friends back at home. Business professionals can also use the service to keep in touch with contacts while at lunch. The free Internet zones will be distinguished by an “Internet Hotspot Sign” on merchants’ doors.
Short for wireless fidelity, Wi-Fi broadcasts Internet connections via radio waves allowing its users to trade out their Internet cables for built –in Wi-Fi modems. Wi-Fi uses short-range, radio antennas, which are hooked up to a conventional land-based broadband Internet connection. Downtown Mount Airy, Inc. has contracted the service through a Wi-Fi company based in Mount Airy called 802Link, Inc. The partnership was developed by the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce.
“Downtown Mount Airy is joining the ranks of entities likes Starbucks and McDonald’s in offering this service,” said Betty Ann Collins, the chairman of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce. “I think that we are one of the very few communities our size to offer this service.”
Mount Airy will kick-off its new wireless capability during a block party on the corner of Oak and Main streets on Thursday, Oct. 23 at 5:30 p.m.
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