China Grove Wi-Fi on hold for estimates

Published 2:27 am Friday, October 17, 2014

CHINA GROVE — More than a year ago, China Grove officials began looking at a way to bring Wi-Fi to public areas, but with little to no response from a cable company the idea still hasn’t become a reality.

Town manager Ken Deal said the China Grove council is simply waiting to hear back from Time Warner Cable on estimates, then it could proceed with a bid process or simply install the needed equipment.

“We can’t even get it out for bid if we can’t get price estimates,” Deal said. “I hate being negative and ugly, but we are just trying to get (Time Warner) to come in and tell us what it’s going to cost.”

One potential location being discussed for wireless internet, Deal said, is Hannah Park.

China Grove Mayor Don Bringle said another potential option is the streets of downtown Salisbury.

“It may create a bit more opportunity for our businesses downtown,” Bringle said.

Bringle said Hannah Park would surely be a location for public, wireless Internet, if the project is sucessful. As for downtown, Bringle said no specific building has been selected yet.

He added that other locations for public wi-fi are also undecided.

Besides helping businesses, Deal said public internet could also be useful to students in local public schools for homework or local residents who don’t have internet access.

Bringle described the city’s current status as an exploratory phase.

China Grove’s budget doesn’t currently include public wi-fi.

Bringle said the wireless internet project could be included in China Grove’s 2015-2016 fiscal year budget, which begins next July.

Depending on pricing estimates, Bringle said public internet may not be something China Grove can afford.

“Again, a lot of it comes back to budgeting and how much we can afford,” he said.

Deal said China Grove’s employees have begun looking at potential other options, as it waits for estimates from Time Warner.

When asked, Deal said utilizing the Salisbury’s Fibrant Internet service would likely be too pricey for China Grove to seriously consider using it as a provider.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246