Thomasville goes wireless -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomasville goes wireless

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By Sarah Baldwin - bio | email

August 5, 2008

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - The dream of going wireless started back in 2006 when the city of Thomasville applied for a $500,000 grant from the "Wireless Communities Georgia" program.  "We were one of 6 communities awarded that funding," said Assistant City Manager Don Atkinson.   

The city got to work, planning and building a wireless network that would take their internet customers, into the next generation of technology.  "Most of our customers are wired through a cable connection or fiber connection and we wanted to offer some mobility to our users," explained Atkinson.

The physical aspect of the network can be seen in these small white boxes- 50 in all, towering above the city. It makes up a 4 mile area, mainly over the main corridors of Thomasville.  "This was mainly to facilitate not only for our residents and businesses around those areas but also to cover our vehicles," said Atkinson said.

That's a huge advantage for the city's technicians who get about 5,000 work orders per month.  "New installs, service calls, storm damage and stuff like that," said line tech, John Wheeler.  The technology will greatly improve their efficiency.  "We have the advantage of, instead of having to come back to the office or make contact with the call center, we can get it through the wireless laptops in the trucks."

Another group that will utilize the wireless network will be police and fire service. Wireless access will let officers get information and fill out reports on the computer in their car, rather having to go back to the station.  And the network will only grow from here.  "We hope to expand this to around 8 or 9 miles and beyond that as needed," Atkinson said.

Customers can expect to get online, without all the wires by the end of the month. Existing customers of the city's internet can pay to have the service added.  Visitors to Thomasville can get daily or weekly passes for connection.