by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune
---- — A tower will be going up at France Park this week that will eventually provide free Wi-Fi for visitors.
The plan is to have the approximately 150-foot tower up behind the sign at the park's entrance Wednesday, said Lucas Beach, the park's superintendent. After being equipped by an internet service provider in the weeks to follow, it will begin transmitting free wireless Internet service.
The construction and erection of the tower will cost about $5,000, Beach said. Broadway Broadband, under Peru-based parent company ABC Hi-Def Communications, is providing the service free of charge to the park, which will in turn offer it free of charge to visitors.
"We want to number one, be able to provide those folks out there with some service that's not currently out there and number two, get our name out there as well," said Chris Underwood, vice president of ABC Hi-Def Communications.
"When they connect their device, they're going to see 'Broadway Broadband'. We cover three counties. If they decide they want it for their house, they can call. If they just want it out there for the weekend, that's what they got it for. For the folks that are out there, they'll be able to get a lot of use out of it, I'm sure."
According to allstays.com, a travel website, there are more than 80 campgrounds in Indiana that provide wireless internet to campers.
"I think with the growing need of technology by the consumers, it's almost become a necessity," Beach said. "...People want to come out here and still want to be able to work. For a lot of campers, this is a second home. This will give them access to emails and allow them to still be able to work."
Beach went on to say he thinks the new amenity will draw more visitors to the park.
"It will allow people who have strayed away from this place because of that lack of technology to come back," he said. "We'll be able to provide that. Hopefully it will create more of an incentive for them to spend their summers out here."
Beach said the details are still being worked out, but that it will be likely that visitors will be given a password at the park's front gate to to connect to the internet.
Beach added the service will be beneficial to park staff as well.
"It will allow us to work more efficiently, especially with the county," he said. "With us being so far out, it will allow us to communicate a lot smoother."
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.