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Raleigh ramps up free WiFi for First Night event

Posted December 31, 2014

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— Downtown Raleigh will have additional WiFi capacity for First Night 2015.

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau has partnered with Raleigh Beer Guide to provide 500 more connections during Wednesday night’s event, which draws more than 40,000 people to City Plaza.

That’s good news, officials said, especially after overloaded networks two years ago nearly caused problems with the city’s iconic Acorn Drop. In 2012, cellphone service was so difficult to obtain that the event coordinator could not reach the crew to tell them to drop the acorn. A runner was sent through the crowd, and the acorn was dropped a few minutes later.

Officials said a new cell tower has been installed downtown since then, and there’s plenty of WiFi capacity to meet demand. Celito.net also has donated a 100MB Internet connection for the event.

“We’re excited to give more people WiFi access so they can connect with friends or send a picture of the event during the huge New Year’s party,” Mel Johnson, of Raleigh Beer Guide, said in a statement.

Cellphone and tablet users can search “New Year’s WiFi” to connect for free. The temporary access points are at the Raleigh Marriott City Center on the plaza.


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