Local News

Raleigh kicks off free WiFi downtown

Posted October 24, 2009 7:34 p.m. EDT
Updated October 25, 2009 3:34 p.m. EDT

— This weekend, the city of Raleigh celebrated the opening of the $15 million City Plaza, the Raleigh Wide Open celebration and new outdoor WiFi service.

Last May, the City Council approved the $111,729 contract with WindChannel to build the wireless Internet connection for downtown. The WiFi network covers the area bordered by South, West, Morgan and Person streets.

Monica Shelton, owner of a natural and organic skincare line, used the new WiFi network to process credit card orders from her Raleigh Wide Open booth on Saturday.

“It allows me to process credit cards real time, which is incredibly convenient,” Shelton said.

The city already offered WiFi inside the downtown convention center. The new outdoor network aims to support downtown redevelopment efforts.

“It encourages outdoor dining. It encourages business meetings. It keeps the convention center attendees connected when they're visiting our city,” said Ellen Fragola with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

City officials say when using the downtown WiFi network, there are limits to how much you can download and how long you can stay connected. The equipment is free due to a manufacturer's credit from earlier projects with the city.