Archived Story

Pitt pushes for WiFi

Published 9:02pm Thursday, August 22, 2013

Washington City Councilman William Pitt says the city is missing one important utility: free broadband wireless service.
“You can have water. You can have electricity. But without WiFi, you really don’t have economic development. WiFi is the third element of economic development,” he said.
Pitt said wiring downtown would increase traffic in the area and attract new businesses.
He said the longer Washington goes without WiFi, the more it pushes patrons away. Pitt said he has often chosen a place to eat based on whether it has WiFi. He listed a handful of local restaurants that offer WiFi to their patrons.
“We used to look at which restaurants had air conditioning. The AC was the reason you went to a restaurant,” he said. “And I think WiFi is the new air conditioning.”
Pitt said schools were heading toward supplying computers to each student, but too many were still without Internet for Beaufort County to make any progress in that direction.
“You can’t take your kid to McDonald’s to do homework everyday,” he said.
For the past several years, companies like EarthLink and AT&T have been looking at rural towns as viable new markets for WiFi.
Pitt said many North Carolina cities have taken the plunge into WiFi and there are WiFi funding avenues he wants the city to explore.
“I think we owe it to ourselves, to our city, to look at what’s the best thing we can do,” Pitt said. “It’s almost a necessity.”

  • tmcarter

    I absolutely DISAGREE with the notion that the City of Washington should be in the WIFI business. That is absolutely the last thing the City should be doing in providing this type of service. If a consumer wants or needs WIFI, as a service, then 1) They need to visit a local vendor in their retail space to obtain said WIFI service or 2) If PRIVATE enterprise wants or desires to provide that type of service, then it should be left to local private business to provide the infrastructure for that need. Leave the City taxpayers out of this equation and focus on other problems that can recoup some of the waste, fraud and abuse dollars that are being drained from the city.

    (Report comment)

    • Mona Moore

      I think what they have in mind is to offer free WiFi in public places downtown, not to offer it as a utility. I apologize for not making that clearer in the article.

      – M

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      • tmcarter

        Regardless of the intent… The City of Washington does not need to offer, incentivize, promote or avert this type of service regardless… Let the private enterprise do this.. Maybe this would be something the Downtown Merchants Assoc (or whatever the new name of the org is) could undertake and farm that infrastructure out for bid to an IT organization like Williams & Associates or Strategic Network Consultants or Soundside Group.. (just to name a few) Private enterprise that are in that business… This would be an additional skilled task that another City employee would have to be responsible for and I for one don’t wish to have my tax dollars being wasted on yet another “project” from any state funded grant that ultimately is at the tax payers expense!

        (Report comment)

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