Free Wireless Internet in Outdoor Savannah

Think about this: sitting in one of Savannah's beautiful, historic squares and doing some internet surfing. Without wires. They call these places hot spots, and three more were just added to our area. Just in time for the G-8, a group called Savannah Spanish Moss, Inc. is taking Savannah's wireless internet outdoors.

"Therefore I, Van Johnson, on behalf of Otis Johnson and the aldermen of Savannah, Georgia, proclaim this day, June the second, 2004, as Savannah Spanish Moss Incorporated Day in Savannah," alderman Van Johnson declared today at the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. He added it was no small news: "We've changed our procedure for proclamations. We don't give them for just anything."

Leadership Savannah created this public-private partnership to provide residents and visitors free wireless internet access outdoors.

"We're doing this to showcase all the technology assets that we have in Savannah," said Leadership Savannah's Todd Freesemann. "You know, people's ideas, people's minds, infrastructure, and all the people that just come together and work on a great project and showcase the technology that Savannah has and is capable of doing."

Basically what the Savannah Spanish Moss project means is that with a laptop and a wireless card you can pick up for around $60, you can log on wirelessly in the square. Folks we talked with thought it was pretty exciting.

"I think it's excellent," said Dale Walker, visiting Savannah from Akron, Ohio. "I'd love to, when we go on vacations, sit in the park if I need to get my email, stuff like that, to have the ability to link up quickly. That'd be very excellent for me."

Currently the system is online--or hot--in Reynolds Square, River Street from the Hyatt to the Marriot, and on Hutchinson Island.

But organizers don't plan to let it end there. "We would like to cover all the squares, we would love to cover the city parks," said Savannah Spanish Moss president Marc Marling. "And the city was kind enough to tell us that they have fiber optic cables under the city streets which they will allow us to move the signal across the city to pop up wherever we see fit, and we hope to cover Forsyth Park and all the historic squares."

It's just one more bit of hospitality from the Hostess City of the 21st-century South.

Of course you can learn more about Savannah Spanish Moss online.

Reported by: Charles Gray, cgray@wtoc.com