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Aristotle, AYPN Put Free Wi-fi in River Market Oct. 18, 2007

By Nate Hinkel, Arkansas Business - 10/18/2007 11:22:01 AM
Two groups flipped the switch on free wireless Internet service in the River Market district in downtown Little Rock on Thursday.
The Arkansas Young Professionals Network, a nonprofit networking and development group, contracted with Aristotle Inc. of Little Rock to deploy wireless access points throughout the River Market district, including most of President Clinton Avenue and Riverfront Park. The service was officially launched following a news conference Thursday morning downtown.
"As of today, residents and visitors should be able to access the Internet by way of the AYPN network from the Broadway Bridge all the way to the River Market pavilions," said Elizabeth Bowles, president of Aristotle, in a news release. "In fact, when we turned the system on to test it a few weeks ago, we immediately had over 200 visitors try to access the service."
The project was paid for through corporate donors and dues paid to AYPN.
According to William Porterfield, executive director of AYPN, the Wi-fi service factors heavily into its mission.
"This project is about having an immediate and visible impact in Little Rock," he said. "AYPN's mission is to keep young professionals in Arkansas. By providing free wireless Internet in the River Market, we are adding yet another dimension to what is quickly becoming a prime market for young professionals."
The project was not an official city of Little Rock affair, though City Manager Bruce Moore has been an AYPN supporter and the city gave the go-ahead for the service to occupy mainly city-owned territories, including the River Market pavilions and Riverfront Park.
Bowles added that Aristotle was also a part of providing Wi-fi service across the Arkansas River at Dickey-Stephens Park.
ArkansasBusiness.com first reported news of the service in July.
Users will access the service via a special landing page their computer's browser will find once the computer detects the wireless service. That landing page includes links to local services and sponsors, as well as business news headlines for ArkansasBusiness.com. And example of the page is available here.
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