By CHELSEY POLLOCK
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- Free wireless Internet, coming to a town park near you.
Soon all of Derry’s parks and sections of the downtown area will be setup as free “WiFi hotspots” sponsored by Manchester- based Internet provider G4 Communications.“Our hope is that this will allow people to communicate during their leisure time, which is important for people of all ages,” said G4 Vice President of Business Development Ralph Thompson. “And hopefully this can get families out of the house to go do something if one or two of the members of the family have to be in contact.”
Hood Park is already set up as a WiFi hotspot, and G4 will extend that service to all of the town’s parks and a few spots in downtown by the spring, Thompson said.
And while G4 Communications already provides Internet services to municipal buildings throughout the state, including Derry, Thompson said Derry was the company’s first choice for free wireless Internet. Company president Gent Cav is a Derry resident, he said.
“G4 considers Derry their back yard and so it just makes sense,” Thompson said. “This is a thanks to the town, and it’s just giving back to where you’re from.” And Thompson, a member of the town’s Moving Derry Forward committee, said the project should help the town meet its economic development goals.
“It ties in to what we’ve been talking about in trying to make Derry an attraction as a high-tech town,” he said. “Many people that live in Derry go to Boston for their jobs, and it would be good if they had alternative means of communication here so maybe they would stay. The more time you spend here, the more you become part of the community.”
The hotspots project coincides with another G4 initiative to bring its Internet and phone services to residential customers for the first time, again starting in Derry and extending statewide by early next year, Thompson said.
As an incentive, Thompson said the company will donating $10 to 21st Century Learning Community Corporation for every new Derry customer who signs up with the new service, called MetroReach. The 21st Century Learning Community Corporation supports technology programs in schools.
As a primer to the relationship, Thompson donated $1,000 on G4’s behalf at a recent meeting of the Derry School Board.
For more information, visit www. g4communications. com.