Saturday, 17 January 2009

[news/ wifi everywhere

Treasure Valley, Idaho -- Even in the middle of the day, walk into any popular coffee shop across the Treasure Valley and you'll see faces partially hidden by laptop screens and fingers flying over the keys.

"I have an adopted daughter that lives over in Holland and over there they have it free through out the whole country," said Mirl South, a WIFI user"

The Flying M's coffee lovers believe that much of the U.S. won't be far behind. In urban centers, being able to log on while you're out and about is becoming just as important as street lights and stop signs.

"I use the computer quite a bit for my e-mailing. I use it for directions in my trucking, research, it's great," said Doug Ison, another WIFI user.

It's a reality of modern life cities can no longer ignore if they want their downtowns to continue to thrive. Meridian was one of the first to realize that fact and take action.

"What we're starting to see as a consumers is people who want to come out and have lunch outside in the nice weather. They are really expecting to be able to access their e-mail and surf the net for free," said Shaun Wardle, with the Meridian Development Corporation.

About four months ago, Caldwell was the next city to go online. They say the same thing, free WIFI isn't just a luxury anymore.

"We just needed to have it in order to provide the convenience for our citizens," said Caldwell mayor Garret Nancolas.

This spring Nampa will be the third city to launch free outdoor Internet access downtown.

"The more you see places like the Flying M and Market Limone both have free WIFI, so this is one more thing that people are coming to expect and we need to deliver," said Beth Ineck, with Nampa Economic Development.

Cities like Spokane, Houston, Pittsburgh and even parts of Los Angeles are all offering free downtown WIFI access. There is so much free WIFI from businesses in downtown Boise, so far the city has decided against installing it's own WIFI system, since it would be redundant in many areas.


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