Wifi and Economic Development

Wi-Fi part of Michigan City plan
City looks to enhance business district with free high-speed Internet
BY SUSAN ERLER
serler@nwitimes.com

   MICHIGAN CITY | The city hopes to lure more business to downtown by setting up free high-speed Internet access in the Franklin Street corridor.“We want to give a leg-up to the businesses that are there and the businesses looking to locate there,” said Kevin Kieft, of the Michigan City Economic Development Corp.City officials reached an agreement with service provider NetNitco to install the equipment in the downtown area, Kieft said.

The Wi-Fi project will make it possible for businesses to communicate with clients and Chicago offices or conduct meetings from vessels docked in the nearby city marina, Mayor Chuck Oberlie said.

“Tourists will be able to surf the Net in between visiting some of our prime attractions and development areas — at no cost to them,” Oberlie said in a prepared statement.

The wireless service will cover the downtown area from 11th Street to Fourth Street with one megabit of bandwidth, and it will cover 90 percent of the area outside as well as most external-wall rooms of buildings, Kieft said.

Equipment will be installed on city infrastructure, including light poles, buildings and traffic signals.

The move is the first step in a Michigan City Chamber of Commerce-led charge for more downtown business development, Kieft said.

Officials hope to create an arts and entertainment center in the Franklin Street area, he said.

“We’re trying to work on getting a few more restaurants and a two- or three-block artist district,” Kieft said.

The Wi-Fi installation, expected to be completed by late next month, was timed to coincide with the opening of summer visitor attractions in the city, including a nearby zoo and city park, as well as Blue Chip casino.

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4 responses to “Wifi and Economic Development

  1. Too bad Council didn’t visit
    Michigan City instead of Madison 😉

    Thanks for the example Laurin. Where do we stand on Chapel Hill’s staff-led effort?

  2. Here is one thing the Town is doing thus far. See this news release:
    The town of Chapel Hill will host a community focus group meeting March 21 on how it can use information technology to provide more effective and efficient services.

    The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the conference room of the Chapel Hill Public Library. This meeting was originally scheduled for February but was delayed.

    The purpose is to provide citizens an opportunity to comment on the components of an information technology environment that would assist town government operations to provide for the effective and efficient delivery of services to the community.

    Receiving public input is a part of the process of developing a needs assessment, which is being developed by RHJ Associates Inc. under contract with the town.

    For information on the community focus group session, contact Town Information Officer Catherine Lazorko at 968-2743 or tio@townofchapelhill.org.

    As far as the true wireless effort, I will have more of an update by the afternoon but preliminarily I will tell you that Roger Stancil has met with the Cary, NC I.T. staff to learn more about fiberoptics (in our future traffic signal system) for a possible broadband backbone. Flo Miller is also scheduling another meeting with the “wireless” team of council, Shannon Schelin, John Streck, et al to work on the wireless initiative. A report is coming soon to the council, but staff doesn’t have the date set on that yet.

  3. Updated staff report on wireless with council discussion is tentative but hopeful for April 23. Such a report will be pretty inclusive and give us the staff’s full range of realistic possiblities for the council and public to consider at that time. I’ll update accordingly, or if things change.

  4. Free high speed internet is a perfect incentive for many business owners to migrate to downtown Michigan City. It is incentives like these that help increase productivity for many failing businesses.

    Bandwidth Buyers Guide

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