6 outside spots downtown to pick up free Wi-Fi

Thursday, August 15, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:24 a.m. CDT, Thursday, August 15, 2013

COLUMBIA — Free Wi-Fi has been available as a test project since May on Broadway and Ninth Street, and around Flat Branch Park and Courthouse Plaza. It is being funded by a half-cent sales tax at downtown retail businesses.

The network pops up on devices as "District Free Wi-Fi," and no password is required.

The service does have a data cap, which restricts users from uploading or downloading large files, like watching Netflix or playing high-definition videos on YouTube.

Here is a list of public benches with full Wi-Fi signal within the area of coverage. The strength of the signal was tested by being able successfully upload a photo to Facebook and check email.

1. Tables and benches located at Flat Branch Park on Elm Street. It is a park where you can bring pets and use Wi-Fi while avoiding the busy downtown crowd.

2. An amphitheater stage at the Boone County Courthouse Plaza on Walnut Street offers plenty of open space to sit and access the Internet.

3. A small resting area with two benches and a tree is located in front of Commerce Bank at Broadway and Ninth Street.

4. Public benches are located in front of Tellers at Broadway and Ninth Street. The place showed an especially strong signal because of its proximity to a Wi-Fi transmitter.

5. Big tables and chairs are provided near businesses on Ninth Street near Elm Street from Ingredient to Chipotle. The tables are big enough to put a laptop and a stack of textbooks.

6. Public benches can be found in front of Shakespeare’s Pizza at Ninth and Elm streets.

Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.

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