In many places around Western North Carolina, where WiFi is as expected as indoor air conditioning, a headline like that probably gets a chuckle or two.
Here at home, however, residents and local businesses have certainly noticed the improvements in WiFi availability throughout the main corridor that connects the two communities.
"We are definitely excited about the progress Pangaea has made in expanding our WiFi capability throughout the area. The technology is a real benefit not only to our guests and visitors but to residents alike," said Lake Lure Mayor Bob Keith.To date, PANGAEA Internet has completed the PANGAEA Public WiFi networks in the downtown areas of Tryon, Saluda, Chimney Rock Village, and Lake Lure. This summer, the WiFi networks are also being expanded to Columbus and Tryon's Harmon Field.
More than fifty access points have been deployed in the four towns and usage is 500 percent more than originally forecast. Since launching a year ago, the PANGAEA Public WiFi networks have averaged about 12,000 users per month.PANGAEA is the leading commercial provider of high-speed fiber optic internet service for Polk and Rutherford Counties.
From June 13th to July 10th of this summer, the number of network users reached almost 24,000, with Chimney Rock Village and Lake Lure accounting for more than 17,000 of the total users.
"Having greater WiFi ability definitely supports travel and tourism, especially when used by our guests to gather information about sites to see, things to do, and ways to get there," said Shannon Baldwin, Community Development Director for the Town of Lake Lure. "Having WiFi in our Town Center makes the Lake Lure experiences more valuable for our guests."
The WiFi networks are intended for casual and temporary use, not to replace existing residential or business internet service needs. Residents and visitors can access the network by simply selecting 'PANGAEA Public WiFi' from the WiFi settings of their phone, tablet, or laptop.
After selecting 'continue,' users will be transferred to either the Town of Lake Lure's website or the website of Chimney Rock Village Community Development Association. From there, users can go elsewhere on the web.
There is no charge to use the PANGAEA WiFi network.
All this progress, long awaited by residents and the local tourism industry, was made possible by a 2014 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) plus matching funds from the towns and PANGAEA to purchase and deploy the equipment necessary to build the networks. PANGAEA also provides the ongoing WiFi bandwidth, connectivity and maintenance as part of its nonprofit community focus.
With very limited public internet access prior to this project, the goal was to improve the areas telecommunications and internet infrastructure. It will make the region more competitive by enhancing the economic development for businesses, the quality of life for citizens and the areas perception and experience for visitors.
Questions or Comments should be addressed to Ron Walters, PANGAEA Executive Director, 828-859-3072 or email@example.com.