Local residents, tourists and ferry passengers bound for Put in Bay now have free WiFi service, thanks to a joint-venture between a local media company and digital services firm.
Free Port Clinton™ allows those with smartphones, tablets and laptop computers to log in to the Internet at no cost, through WiFi transmitters and receivers located throughout downtown Port Clinton, the Jet Express Dock, the Bassett’s Knollcrest Plaza at Routes 53 and 163 and the Miller Ferry Dock at the northern tip of Catawba Island.
The new service is being offered by Ottawa Broadcasting, which owns and operates local online radio stations WPCR and WPIB, and Catawba Digital, a local wireless network and website development and hosting company. Catawba Digital is owned by Catawba Island resident Paul Wallen. Ottawa Broadcasting is owned by Greg and Linda Peiffer, also of Catawba Island.
“Anyone can now use their smartphone, tablet or laptop to find local businesses and restaurants, get a map or even check their e-mail while they’re here in our area”, Peiffer said. “I envision people walking around downtown or shopping at Bassett’s and passengers waiting at the Jet or Miller Dock looking at their smartphone. They’ll be able to see what to do, where to eat or seek out a Google map of our area”, Peiffer added.
Free Port Clinton™ is an advertising-based service with display ads appearing prior to the user accessing the Internet. “Each time a user accesses the system, a full color ad will appear on the screen and the user can either touch the ad and go right to that business’s website, or they can simply go directly to the Internet,” Wallen said.
Main Street Port Clinton is excited about Free Port Clinton. Laura Schlachter, who heads that organization and the Port Clinton Chamber of Commerce, said, “This is exciting. I don’t know of any other area community that caters to the electronic and informational needs of their visitors and customers like we do with the new free WiFi service. Our members will see a tremendous benefit from this.”