Wifi zone goes live in downtown Coupeville

Visitors to downtown Coupeville can now access the Internet free of charge.

A free wifi zone was created by the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association with financial partnership with Allstate Insurance and Town of Coupeville. The zone encompasses the downtown corridor from Coupeville Inn to Main Street and down onto the wharf.

CWHA started the project earlier last year and has been working to find the best system for the project.

Project chair Denis Hill said he started with researching equipment and testing devices.

The system consists of a series of repeaters placed strategically around town. Finding the best spots was really a trial-and-error process, Hill said.

When doing research, it was about finding the most user-friendly system.

Visitors with wifi devices can pick up the signal downtown. In order to access it, however, they must first open their web browser and sign a user agreement.

If visitors need help finding the service, many of the businesses downtown have signs in windows with directions on the back.

The intention of the project is to provide another layer of service, said Vickie Chambers, executive director for CHWA.

While in the testing stages of the project, Hill said visitors were finding the connection. During one weekend in 24 hours,  61 unique visitors logged on.

The service is not intended for businesses or homes in the area with access to replace their personal service, but for the occasional visitor.

The project has no financial gain, but does benefit area, businesses and other various groups.

One of the things people will benefit from is that Coupeville is so photogenic, Hill said.

Families visiting the area can snap pictures downtown and promptly upload them to social media, which in turn increases Coupeville’s web presence.

Having the system is also a benefit in emergencies. Chambers said one of the repeaters is located at Coupeville Rec Hall.

During an emergency, if the power goes out, the hall has a generator so the building would still have Internet service if needed.