Vidalia joins the growing list of communities with plans to offer free Wi-Fi. A recent Miami Herald article reports on recent plans. Community leaders hope to get the project ready for launch in spring 2014.
Vidalia, home to 4,300 residents, hoped to use funds from a 2010 Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant to build a fiber network. Unfortunately for the entire state, the grant was revoked due to Governor Jindal's shenanigans. Jindal's plans for the funds violated the terms of the grant. Vidalia, with its own electric utility, then sought funding from other sources.
According to the Herald article:
The Telecommunications Development Fund Foundation awarded the city a $30,000 grant, announced last week, to deploy a wireless network. The foundation was founded in 2008 with the mission of bringing communications technology and opportunities to areas underserved by Internet providers.
The Natchez Democrat reports that the service will cover 77 acres that include the Vidalia municipal complex, including City Hall and public safety facilities, and recreation fields used by Concordia Recreation District No. 3. Mayor Hyram Copeland told the Democrat that visitors to the complex repeatedly ask for Wi-Fi access.
The Democrat also reports Senator Mary Landrieu is leading the effort to improve connectivity in the area:
The senator said the Wi-Fi project perfectly complements Vidalia’s ongoing work to build a technology center and install high-speed fiber optic Internet access throughout the city.
“This project will add to Vidalia’s excellent quality of life for residents and promote additional entrepreneurial opportunities for local businesses,” Landrieu said.
Local media coverage of the project: