Free WiFi Coming to Downtown Columbia

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COLUMBIA - Businesses in downtown Columbia reacted favorably Thursday to a new plan to provide free WiFi in May of next year.

The service will be added on Ninth Street, ranging from Ash Street to University Avenue, and on Broadway, ranging from Fourth Street to Hitt Street.  People will also be access the free WiFi from Flat Branch Park and Courthouse Square.

"I think it is a great idea," Yogoluv employee Kate McHugh said. McHugh, also a sophomore at MU, added the service will likely bring in more young customers to the store.  But the addition may not help every business in the area.

"We get a mostly older crowd," Billards employee Katelyn Chapin said.  She said the Billards visitors are more interested in shooting pool and drinking than surfing the web.

The free WiFi came to fruition after voters approved a half-cent sales tax in the downtown area last year which will help fund the project.

Once installed, the Downtown Community Improvement District will reevaluate the project to see if people use it enough to justify costs.  The service is estimated to cost $30,000 to install and $30,000 to maintain on an annual basis.

Click here for more information on the project.