Bartlesville Launches Free Downtown WiFi

The results of months of work of a WiFi Task Force formed by the Bartlesville Area Chamber of Commerce will culminate this morning with the launching of free wireless Internet service in downtown Bartlesville, Okla.

Enhanced Communications Group, Bartlesville’s only local provider of voice, data, and internet service, has launched Cisco Systems wireless mesh network in the downtown area. This network will provide free outdoor high-speed internet access to the common areas of downtown Bartlesville.

The area to be served in downtown Bartlesville is a 36 square block area bordered by Adams Blvd., Hensley Ave., Cherokee Ave., and the downtown railroad tracks. The service is being provided by Enhanced Communications Group (ECG), a privately owned communications company headquartered in Bartlesville.

ECG has been working closely with the Bartlesville Development Corporation in their efforts to rejuvenate the downtown area. Through meetings with the wireless task force, ECG committed to moving ahead with the project. “We want to give our business community and professionals the best possible tools and promote Bartlesville as an innovative, business-friendly city,” explains Bo Summers, CEO of ECG. “We also want our residents to experience the freedom that a wireless network provides.”

The Cisco solution provides a high speed internet connection via WiFi technology that eliminates the need for a wired network connection. Any downtown patron with an 802.11 WiFi card can connect to ECG’s network simply by selecting ECGFREE in their available wireless connections. Compatible devices include laptops, PDA’s, cell phones, and other enabled devices.

The BACC WiFi Task Force is chaired by Jim Bohnsack of Arvest Bank and includes members from ConocoPhillips, the City of Bartlesville, Arvest Bank along with Mayor Julie Daniels and Oklahoma State Senator John Ford. Other Task Force members included Charles Baxter and Josh Randolph also with Arvest Bank; Kay Sallee, Casper Naegle, and Larry Anderson of ConocoPhillips; and Jessie Tabler and Lisa Beeman of the City of Bartlesville.

In addition to the equipment and financial contributions to the effort, ConocoPhillips was instrumental in allowing attachments to structures on their campus as well as assisting in the installation of some required equipment.

BACC president Jim Fram stated, “This is an exciting time to be in Bartlesville! We believe this effort has launched the first downtown area to be served with free Internet service in the State of Oklahoma and possibly the four-state area. This reflects Bartlesville’s commitment to serving a rapidly expanding, technology based job market in our growing community.”

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