Private companies expanding Wi-Fi hotspots in Scenic City
By Ellis Smith, Chattanooga Times Free Press - bio | email
Graduate student Hilary Lyons, left, studies inside the Gunbarrel Road Panera Bread restaurant as Clive deLaporte drinks coffee and checks property listings on the internet, at right. Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press
CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -
A handful of companies are working to blanket Chattanooga with Wi-Fi coverage, which could turn the Scenic City into a hot spot for professionals who'd rather work from a patio than a penthouse.
Comcast is on track to install more than 500 Wi-Fi hot spots in the city this year, AT&T has installed more than 50 new hot spots, and EPB is slowly ramping up its own efforts, officials at those companies say.
Jim Weigert, general manger and vice president of Comcast in Chattanooga, said the world's largest cable company is making Wi-Fi a priority as it battles to keep subscribers interested in its services. Weigert moved up his timetable to unveil the service after realizing that city officials did not plan to open up their municipal Wi-Fi network, he said, which runs on the same wireless band found in most in-home routers.
"Residents in this area may have been frustrated that we don't have a Wi-Fi solution, and now we do," Weigert said. "You think about data, connectivity has really become critical to people's lives and the future of innovation -- people just want data."