Small Business Sponsorship Model Provides Free Public WiFi Across District
(St. Petersburg, FL, June 12, 2019) – WiFi marketing and analytics company GoZone WiFi (GoZone) today announced the completion of a free-to-the-public WiFi network throughout the EDGE District in St. Petersburg, FL, where the company is headquartered. A wire cutting ceremony will officially launch the project on Thursday, June 20, in conjunction with World Wi-Fi Day.
Through the implementation of a business-sponsored model, GoZone, along with hardware provider Cambium Networks and the EDGE Business District Association, created a publicly available WiFi network covering the area from Martin Luther King Jr. St. to 16th St. and along Central, Baum, and 1st Avenue N.
The project was both a business and passion project for GoZone’s CEO Todd Myers, who has studied the topic of digital divide extensively and knows how it negatively impacts not only individuals, but entire communities. Myers has dedicated his career to closing the digital divide through innovative WiFi service models like the one launched within the EDGE District. “We are committed to working toward pervasive, accessible WiFi access for everyone; regardless of your income or economic status,” said Myers.
Myers worked closely with Barbara Voglewede, Executive Director of the EDGE Business District Association to bring his vision of a connected community to life. The EDGE District WiFi initiative had three main goals:
- bridge the digital divide in St. Petersburg
- connect residents and visitors to local businesses and corporate sponsors
- drive economic vitality within the EDGE District
All without using taxpayer dollars.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman sees the value that this project brings to the community. “On June 20th, we will celebrate World Wi-Fi Day, and I can’t think of a better way than to begin to bridge the digital divide in the Sunshine City. Bringing free WiFi to the heart of our city is a creative, innovative way to help everyone connect in new and exciting ways,” said Mayor Kriseman. “I want to thank GoZone WiFi – headquartered in the EDGE District — and Cambium Networks for seeing the potential in this booming business district, and in all of St. Petersburg, and for making this possible.”
Local residents and visitors get free access to WiFi, while corporate network sponsors like UPC Insurance and Goldman Wetzel Law Firm receive digital advertising opportunities provided by GoZone’s Ads4WiFi platform. (Ads are displayed on the WiFi login page, landing page, and in subsequent emails.) The EDGE Business District Association, an accredited Main Street America™ and Florida Main Street, uses the network to drive economic growth in its historic downtown corridor by promoting the district’s many amenities, eclectic businesses, and district-wide events.
“The value of offering free WiFi to our district visitors is tremendous,” said Voglewede. “It enhances their experience here, increasing their dwell time, and even providing an easily accessible, more eco-friendly platform to learn about our unique district features and heritage. We’re thrilled to be partnering with GoZone on this cutting edge project.”
Using GoZone’s systems, Voglewede can view traffic data in order to spot trends and analyze growth fluctuations and patterns. In addition, as guests log in to the public WiFi network, the district can promote upcoming committee meetings, events, and even collect data through surveys.
GoZone collaborated with Cambium Networks to bring the network to the field using their reliable infrastructure. “Cambium has stepped up to the plate to make this project a success with their easy-to-manage hardware,” Myers said of the deployment.
World Wi-Fi Day takes place on June 20th each year and is a global initiative promoted by the Wireless Broadband Alliance to help bridge the digital divide. City dignitaries, including Mayor Rick Kriseman, will join the EDGE District, GoZone WiFi, corporate sponsors, and members of the public for an official wire cutting ceremony on June 20th at 4:30pm at Green Bench Brewing Company, located at 1133 Baum Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL. Parking will be available across the street at 1211 1st. Ave N.