DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Delray Beach is one step closer to realizing a dream: the Chamber of Commerce says it has an agreement with a local company to install free wireless internet.
It is expected to be installed within six weeks, and officials anticipate it will help an already popular downtown area grow even faster.
Julius McGee is a small business owner who visits local coffee shops often. He was in Spot Coffee on Thursday night.
"I train people on technology. And I'm always on the road. I don't have an office. So I stop at the nearby coffee shop with the best connection," he said.
The Chamber of Commerce thinks lots of people think like McGee.
"It's definitely something we have to address and keep on top of, to make sure that Delray Beach is in the game," said Sarah Martin, the head of the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber has signed a deal with Delray's Blue Web Mobile Media to blanket Atlantic Ave. from SW Fifth to A1A and a thousand feet in each direction with wireless internet. Free to the consumer, ads will be sold to pay for it.
"The project will actually allow us to generate a small amount of revenue that we can now turn into other marketing efforts and start to market Delray as a destination, nationwide, and also internationally," said Martin.
McGee is proof that connectivity brings money to local businesses. Coffee might not be his main objective, but he still bought some while he was using Spot Coffee's wi-fi.
"For a couple of hours, I probably spend five or six bucks. If I come here for more than three hours, I'll dish out fifteen bucks, easy," said McGee.
The project will also include an app that you can download that will serve as an electronic local directory.
And if you don't have a smartphone, they will place four big kiosks downtown that will have all the same information.