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Downtown to become a "hotzone"

The Harrodsburg Herald of Harrodsburg, Kentucky

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Crews Working To Install Free Wi-fi To Harrodsburg

Efforts to bring free wireless internet to downtown Harrodsburg continued this week as workmen installed cables on Harrodsburg's water tower Tuesday.

Corey "Doc" Gullett and Zach Hukle of BlueZoom Wi-fi stood in a man cage high above N. Main St. and secured the cables to the water tower supports with magnets.

The cables connect the wireless antenna on top of the water tower to BlueZoom's equipment on the ground. Efforts to install the cables last week were postponed due to rain, said Eric Harmon, general manager and co-owner at BlueZoom.

"There's been a lot of hoops to jump through," Harmon said.

Once work at the water tower is complete, a dozen repeaters will be placed in businesses along Main Street to provide a strong wi-fi signal all the way from the intersection of Main and Broadway to the old Opera House. Over 60 cities have similar "hotzones" in the US — including Louisville and Lexington — mainly in their downtown commercial dis tricts.

The idea of turning Main Street into a hotzone occurred to Pete Chiericozzi, of the Mercer County Community Endowment, during a trip to Florida.

After returning to Harrodsburg, Chiericozzi talked with Sonny Ransdell, co-owners of BlueZoom, and Julie Wagner, executive director of Harrodsburg First Main Street Program, to discuss offering something similar here. Everyone agreed the idea could help local businesses compete against large chain stores.

Turning downtown into a hotzone has been a community wide effort. Harrodsburg First and the Mercer County Community Endowment are both contributing funds while BlueZoom is handling the technical end, providing the equipment and the manpower. L.W. Wilson and Sons will be providing equipment to help with the installations on Main Street. The city government is allowing them to use the antenna on the water tower.

If all goes well, free wi-fi will be available in downtown by mid-November or early December, Harmon said.

While only Main Street will be connected at first, organizers hope to expand the service area in the future.

(Editor's note: Owners of BlueZoom Wi-Fi are as follows: Joe and Cindy Wilson, Sonny and Jill Ransdell, Joe and Sonya Wilson, David and Lois Ransdell, Jimmy and Ranee Boswell, Tim and Sonya Shannon, Eric Harmon and Shane Casey.)



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Original Publication Date: October 8, 2015



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