City continues Internet freebie
- By Jill Rosen
- Aug 14, 2001
LaGrange, Ga., which made headlines last year by offering its residents
free Internet access via cable modem, is extending the pilot program so
even more people can take advantage of it.
Since the free offer began last summer, city officials (www.lagrange-ga.org)
have worked to increase the amount of local content online in hopes that
having more information relevant to residents will encourage the town's
technology holdouts to get hooked up.
Of the residents who haven't taken the city up on the offer, City Manager
Tom Hall said they're either advanced computer users or people who don't
think using the Internet will be useful to them.
To jump-start the local content, the city recently offered free Web
platforms to all local nonprofit organizations. So far, about 80 community
groups, including churches, neighborhoods and scouting troops, have set
"We're trying to get everybody literate with the use of technology,"
Hall said. "We know not everybody is interested in the Internet, but knowing
what goes on at their kids' school is important or what's going on at their
church is important."
Last year, the city attracted national attention by offering free Internet
access via cable television to everyone in the city for one year. The extension
of the pilot program will give new and current enrollees free access.
About half of LaGrange's approximately 10,000 residents now have Internet
access. Of those, 15 percent get it through the cable modems. The free cable
access whet some residents' technology appetites, as many of the original
participants have "graduated" to computers, Hall said.
Although Internet TV enables people to surf the Web, it can be limiting
because users can't add supplemental software programs, as they would on
The city, which doesn't collect property taxes, is funding the effort
with profits from the sale of telecommunications services to businesses.
Hall expects the program will cost $150,000 for the coming year.
The city also is offering free online education opportunities through
a partnership with eMercer, a distance learning division of Mercer University.