Google grant to provide free wireless in downtown Pryor
BY RHETT MORGAN World Staff Writer
Friday, January 18, 2013
1/18/13 at 11:51 AM
PRYOR -- A $200,000 grant from Google will enable the city to create a free wireless network in the downtown area, the Web search engine giant announced this morning.
The effort, expected to serve about a 13-block area, is the first free high-speed wireless Internet initiative in Mayes County. Google operates a data center in the Mid-America Industrial Park near Pryor.
“I think this is huge for us,” Pryor Mayor Jimmy Tramel said in a phone interview. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Construction on the infrastructure needed to power the network is scheduled to begin next month and is expected to be completed this year. The grant will fund operation and maintenance of the service for the city for the next three years.
Techsico, a Tulsa-based company, will install and maintain the network.
“We believe providing Internet access in our city will help our businesses grow and prosper,” Tramel said in a prepared statement. “Since arriving in Mayes County, Google has been instrumental in helping our community thrive in the digital world through education and technology grants. We are continually glad they chose to land in Pryor.”
The mayor hopes to expand the Wi-Fi network to reach the entire city in the next five years.
“At Google, we know how important Internet access is to economic growth,” Mike Wooten, operations manager for the Google Oklahoma data center, said in a news release. “This investment will have an impact on the community by helping businesses tap into the growing pool of online consumers and business opportunities.”
Barbara Hawkins is president of the Pryor Chamber of Commerce.
“Being able to provide free Internet access in our city will help us bring new business to Pryor,” she said in a prepared statement. “Big things are happening in Pryor that make it a desirable place to live, work and play. Google has played a major role in energizing our city.”
A western motif is included in the decor at Google's data center in Pryor. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World File