Bug spray, snacks, bottled water, swimsuits ? and now, Wi-Fi-enabled laptop computers can be added to the list of items for Michigan vacationers ? and just in time for Labor Day weekend. The state of Michigan today announced that wireless Internet access is now available at Holland State Park and Grand Haven State Park, the first two parks in the nation to provide this service at state campgrounds. The state's new MiWiFi project will bring Wi-Fi service to a total of ten state parks, docks, rest areas and welcome centers to benefit Michigan residents and travelers.
MiWiFi, powered by SBC FreedomLink Wi-Fi service, will be piloted at Ludington State Park, Mackinac Island State Dock, New Buffalo Welcome Center, Coldwater Welcome Center and Clarkston Rest Area by October. The service will be available at Charles Mears State Park, Sterling State Park and East Tawas State Dock when those locations reopen in April 2005.
FreedomLink enables travelers to use laptop computers and personal digital assistants to wirelessly connect to the Internet and corporate networks at speeds 50 to 100 times faster than a dial-up connection. Customers can gain access to a FreedomLink hot spot when they are within approximately a 150-foot range of its location.
"We are thrilled to make Michigan the first state to offer Wi-Fi Internet access at popular recreational areas like state campgrounds, providing more convenience and enjoyment for travelers and visitors to our great state," said Governor Jennifer Granholm.
FreedomLink service at the Michigan recreational areas will be available for only $7.95 for a 24-hour session. Monthly SBC FreedomLink memberships are available for $19.95, with a one-year term commitment, and provide unlimited access to all FreedomLink hot spots. Travelers and vacationers will have free access to Michigan.gov, the state's top-rated Web site. Free access is also planned for Michigan.org sometime next year.
Teri Takai, director of Michigan's Department of Information Technology, made the announcement on Wednesday during a presentation at the Holland State Park. "MiWiFi is a shining example of how strong partnership and collaboration can bring great benefits to our citizens," commented Takai. "This would not have been possible without our strong relationship with the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and through our great collaboration with SBC companies."
"We are consistently evaluating the feedback at our state parks in order to provide vacationers with the best possible experience," added Rebecca Humphries, director of the Department of Natural Resources. "This new service appeals to a certain segment of our population, making their trip to our parks even more convenient. We want everyone to enjoy their experience and learn why Michigan's state parks are among the best and most beautiful in the country."