The district sees success with free Wi-Fi program

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COLUMBIA - Since 2013, the Downtown Community Improvement District has spent $32,000 annually to provide free Wi-Fi internet access for those in downtown Columbia.

"It's something that a lot of customers of the district and then also businesses, restaurants, and retailers have requested as an amenity for people who are visiting downtown," CID Executive Director Katie Essing said.

Customers can connect to Wi-Fi in almost any outdoor part of the district which includes a fifty square block radius bordered by the MU campus, Columbia College, Stephens College, and Providence Road. 

Officials say the free internet access has been especially popular in the summer months during outdoor activities like the Blue Note's Summerfest and Columbia's Fire in the Sky celebration during the Fourth of July. 

"You know everyone has their mobile phones now, and we have a lot of customers who are walking around looking for directions so it feels like a very important amenity to offer," Essing said.

The executive director of the District said the 50 square block radius of the district has reliable Wi-Fi access, but they welcome any feedback about potential improvements.