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Wi-Fi test run planned for downtown area

Visitors to downtown Jonesborough may soon have the ability to log into their favorite websites while relaxing on a bench along Main Street.
Town leaders are counting on their efforts to bring free Wi-fi to downtown, allowing electronic devices such as computers, smart phones and tablets to connect to the Internet through a wireless network.
Calling it a “marketing and tourism tool,” Town Administrator Bob Browning began working with CenturyLink, an area provider, last year to see if getting the Wi-fi area set up was a feasible venture.
Now, more than a year later, a test run of the system will be under way soon.
“That’s the next step,” Browning said. “We’re looking at providing it outside from Main Street Cafe to the Dining Room. The idea is there’s a trend to try to provide that type of service.”
Despite the impending test run, the project is still very much in the planning stages, Browning said.
The town is still looking to see if there are any other companies that could provide the service. Leaders are also working to determine how much additional equipment will be needed to provide the service, and at what cost.
According to Browning, the monthly service fee and the front-end cost of some equipment both “seem affordable,” but there are still questions as to whether more attennae will need to be installed for the service to work.
The Wi-fi service has been described as a “must” for downtowns by tourism consultants, Browning noted.
“If you know you have available service to stuff like that, it gives people a reason to come down here,” Browning said when the idea first came to light. “People look for a place where they can continue carrying on their business.”