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Main Street Wi-Fi likely to be fixed by summer

Downtown Hendersonville's wireless Internet service, which has been unreliable since the Main Street makeover moved electric lines underground, may get fixed.

The city's Information Technology director, Allen Edge, proposed spending $35,000 to mount Wi-Fi antennas on light poles downtown to provide coverage up and down Main Street.
Moving power lines underground "caused us to bring the antennas down to street level so it greatly limited our ability to cover the area," he said. "We've got Wi-Fi down there but it's pretty much in name only."
Councilman Ron Stephens expressed support for the fix.
"Hardly a week goes by that somebody doesn't complain to me about that," he said. "They say they don't go anywhere in the country where they can't get it except downtown Hendersonville."
The free city Wi-Fi is supposed to allow users to sign on to the Internet outdoors.
"You get a one-hour lease, and then you have to get on again," xx said. "There's no restriction to how many times you can get on but it's a minor annoyance."
Stephens asked how much the service is used now.
"Even when we put it in initially it really got less use than we hoped it might," he said. "There's a lot of Wi-Fi on Main Street already. Black Bear's gets a lot of use. But some of it is due to spotty nature of the service."
If the council authorized the spending in the budget year starting July 1, the work could be done by late summer. But Stephens suggested that the work ought to be done in conjunction with the completion of the last phase of Main Street improvements.
"If we don't we're going to miss at least half of the season," he said. "It looks like we can come up with $35,000. He said August or September, well, the season's over."
The council directed interim City Manager Lee Galloway to look into getting it done.