Wi-Fi in line for downtown Johnson



One excited resident

The town of Johnson will soon be equipped with free Wi-Fi.

The Wi-Fi will run from the downtown shopping plaza to the Johnson Woolen Mills.

The Wi-Fi will be established in part from a grant provided by the Vermont Digital Economy Project, which is sponsored by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) and the Johnson Works Community Organization.

According to Lea Kilvadyova, the community and economic development coordinator for the town of Johnson, VCRD will cover the installation fee and pay for a five-year lease for the Wi-Fi equipment.

Johnson Works has raised the $1,000 annual fee for the cost of the connection to spread throughout the zone.

The Wi-Fi will be broadcast through four access points. They will be placed in various spots throughout the zone.

One of those access points will be installed at the Studio Store.

“I’m not very tech-savvy, but I know it’s going to be a great thing that people can get connections in this community,” said Studio Store owner Andrea Pearlman.

Ideally, the other three pieces of Wi-Fi equipment will be placed in the shopping plaza, the church studios, and Marvin’s Country Store.

Johnson Works raised the $1,000 annual fee for the cost of the connection through donations from local area businesses.

Those local businesses include Johnson State College, Butternut Mountain Farms, The Vermont Studio Center, Laraway Youth and Family Services, The Forget-Me-Not Shop, Foote Brook Farm, Blue Spruce Realty, Town of Johnson, Village of Johnson Electric Department and Travis Hill.

A major bonus for providing this Wi-Fi, and likely the reason many of the sponsors were attracted to this idea, is the landing page for the Wi-Fi zone.

This is an automatic message that will pop up on laptops and cell phones announcing that they have entered this free Wi-Fi zone.

The message will display a list of amenities and services offered throughout Johnson.

“It is a spot for the downtown village to market their brand and people will really get to see what sets Johnson apart,” said Don Foote, Johnson Works board member and co-owner of Blue Spruce Realty.

“Every town in Vermont is unique and different, but this will take it a step further and give people a reason to stop, park, spend some money, and hopefully have a reason to come back again.”

According to Foote, the money for the connection was raised in one week.

“We could have raised $5,000 if we needed to,” he said. “There was nobody who heard about this and said no. They all saw that it was a no-brainer.”

The next step in this process is the installation.

Shortly thereafter, the Wi-Fi will be up and running.