Free public WiFi coming to downtown Johnson City

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A partnership between the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Johnson City Development Authority and Brightridge will help bring free WiFi to downtown Johnson City.

This comes after the Johnson City Development Authority Received at $27,500 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The grant will help provide one gigabyte of free public WiFi to people in a five-block area of the historic downtown and nearby green spaces.

The announcement was made Thursday in downtown’s Majestic Park.

“I often hear students say, ‘I’m out of data, or where’s good WiFi,” said ESTU student, Austin Ramsey, “so I think it will really just bridge that gap.”

Ramsey said when he explores downtown Johnson City, available WiFi is one of the first things he checks for.

“If I come downtown not having to worry about connecting to five different networks,” he said, “I can go on one network while I’m traveling and stay in the area and have one connection”

City development leaders are looking forward to adding an attractive amenity for area visitors and young people.

“The connectivity to ETSU and downtown was very important to the JCDA,” said Dianna Cantley, JCDA Director of Downtown Development.

Cantler said this all comes with help from Brightridge and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

“Typically Johnson City, because of the size of our community,” she said, “is not elligible for ARC grants. This year, the state of Tennessee and the state of North Carolina entered into an agreement to ARC to offer it to a downtown free WiFi program.”

“We’re going to concentrate in the park area first,” said Robert Williams, Board Chair for JCDA. “Founders Park, King Commons, and then we’ll expand into the five block district of historic downtown.”

Williams said the addition of free public WiFi to nearby green spaces will also play to the area’s strengths.

“We’re trying to promote our assets in the community which is outdoor living,” he said. “If we can offer free WiFi to our visitors and our residents, it’s just another reason to visit our area.”

Cantley said there will most likely be a two to three hour time limit on WiFi use.

She also said installation is expected to be completely finished by the end of summer. 

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