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Free Wi-Fi service comes to Town of Halifax

SoVaNow.com / February 06, 2014
Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) announced Tuesday the launch of a pilot project in the Town of Halifax using solar powered Wi-Fi equipment to provide free wireless broadband access throughout the town.

The project has been in the works for several years.

MBC, in conjunction with Wireless ISP Gamewood Technologies Group, launched the pilot project to test the coverage, speed and functionality of unique wireless rural broadband access equipment produced by Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL), based in India. The pilot project will evaluate the technology for wider deployment in rural, unserved communities.

VNL has partnered with MBC for a new approach to delivering low-cost, GSM and high speed broadband to unserved rural areas across the globe. The Halifax project incorporates VNL’s unique WorldGSMTM Rural Site and Village Site solutions, which utilize solar power to run the wireless network.

The wireless system is connected to MBC’s open-access fiber optic transport network that provides dedicated connectivity from the solar powered base station to Gamewood’s Internet Network.

“We are delighted to partner with MBC and Gamewood to deliver wireless broadband access in the Town of Halifax. This historic and scenic town is such a contrast to the harsh topography of remote areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America, where VNL has deployed GSM and broadband networks. That’s the beauty of a simple, sustainable solution like WorldGSM – it fits in fine, anywhere. Compact and green, it’s showing the way to deliver cost-effective access to unserved communities,” said Rajiv Mehrotra, founder chairman and CEO of VNL.

Carl Espy, Halifax town manager said, “Downtown businesses and visitors to the historic county seat were accustomed to free Wi-Fi when Pure Internet/Kinex offered the service until the company closed its office two years ago. MBC and Gamewood Technologies have provided their wireless expertise, allowing our community to once again possess an enhanced technology which improves the overall business climate and quality of life we seek as part of the town’s ongoing revitalization.”

Espy said he has requested further information as to how town residents may use the system and hopes to have those details forthcoming very soon.

“Gamewood Technology Group, Inc. is pleased to have the opportunity to work with the town and County of Halifax, MBC and VNL to bring these wireless services to the area. We look forward to building on this partnership and seeing how this pilot project can be used by the area residents and businesses successfully” said Ed Wilborne, Chief Information Officer of Gamewood.

“Bridging the Digital Divide is a critical piece of our mission,” said Tad Deriso, president and CEO of MBC. “We continue to try new things to enable ISP’s to expand their last-mile reach. We believe a solar-powered wireless broadband platform can be a benefit to continue expansion of low-cost wireless broadband services in hard to reach, rural areas of Southern Virginia.”

How to gain access to Halifax’s free Wi-Fi

To log on to the new service , MBC Business Development Manager Jeremy Satterfield invites users “to select HalifaxWiFi from their list of available networks, select complimentary access from the drop down box, click the box to agree to the terms, and then enjoy surfing the Internet.”

Ed Wilborne, President of Gamewood Technologies, Inc. added “speed and usability of service can be affected by a variety of factors including distance from the access point and therefore your experience may vary.”

Chief Lands pointed out that because the free service is offered on an open network, users should refrain from accessing password enabled websites and online accounts.

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