McKINLEYVILLE, Calif. -- The Arcata/Eureka Airport celebrated a new beginning on Wednesday by offering customers a new type of connection to the outside world.
With the help of area technology businesses and the Redwood Technology Consortium, the airport is now the newest free wireless Internet hot spot. Humboldt County Airports Manager Jacquelyn Hulsey said that she gets customer requests all the time for a Wi-Fi connection and is excited to be able to offer flyers a new service. She said that because of the partnerships formed with C4I Security of Eureka and RTC, the total cost to the airport to set up the system was only $400. The monthly maintenance and customer service component of the Wi-Fi offering will cost around $150. RTC made the donation to pay for the equipment.
"I know this is a well-spent investment," Hulsey said. "Now when bad weather (delays flights) people can sit and work on their computer with this connection to the Internet."
Area teleworker Chris Crawford was thrilled with the addition. Crawford, a member of the RTC and owner of Justice Served, estimates that he does 95 percent of his business outside the area. Crawford is frequently globe trotting from one place to another to do business and finds himself needing to communicate with clients while traveling through terminals. One time when he was in a terminal on his way to Hong Kong, Crawford said he resorted to borrowing a phone jack from an airport janitor so he could hook up a connection to a pay phone to check his e-mail.
"The janitor saved the day and afterwards I tried to hand it back to her and she told me to keep it because, 'It looks like you need it more than I do,'" he said laughing. "Now I take it with me as a fail safe."
Gregg Foster, director of the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission and RTC board member, said he helped host the "virtual ribbon cutting," at the airport on Wednesday.
"It is great that we are pushing the envelope because even though we are small, doesn't mean we don't offer great service," he said. "Adding free wireless access throughout the terminal is yet another step in our effort to expand and modernize the Arcata/Eureka Airport to be a first class regional facility."
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This addition, combined with the redesign of the existing terminal, will improve the security waiting area, expand the baggage return section and streamline checked luggage security.
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