Free WiFi in the Park for those lacking internet access, while rural residents fight for the chance

Free WiFi in the Park for those lacking internet access, while rural residents fight for the chance

CLINTON, Miss. (WLBT) - The City of Clinton is helping residents meet the challenges they face with internet access by expanding service.

The global computer network is now available for free to those without it and will soon be spreading throughout the city.

“I’m gonna connect here, and I’m gonna open up the internet,” said Clinton City Spokesman Mark Jones while standing under a pavilion at Lion’s Club Park.

The city is providing free WiFi, a service that will be available 24-hours to residents needing internet access. Thursday students at Mississippi College were taking advantage of the free internet connection.

“People know that when they come here to Clinton, when they move here to Clinton or they live here, that they can be able to access the world,” said Clinton Mayor Phil Fisher. “Up to twenty people can be in one location using it. So that’s the thing is having the availability to go there and use it."

WiFi is also available at the Wood Activity Center parking lot and the Bark Park. The hotspots are protected by a firewall, and no password is required.

“We would definitely take advantage of that if we had a service like that in Pocahontas,” said Mary Venable.

The rural Hinds County resident has to drive 15 minutes to Clinton, Jackson or Madison to get internet access.

The mother of three school aged children will be attending a virtual town hall meeting evening Thursday hosted by State Representative Debra Hendricks Gibbs on rural broadband access.

Venable wants to know where internet providers are spending CARES funding for broadband expansion.

“It’s very ironic that we, as a community that has no internet service, are having a virtual town hall meeting. We are glad that we have the opportunity for our voices to be heard, don’t get me wrong,” said Venable. “But we are gonna have to go into a different area. I’m gonna be in Jackson just so that I can communicate through this town hall."

State legislators, the District’s Public Service Commissioner and an internet provider will be participating in the 6:30 p.m. town hall meeting.

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