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Natchitoches touts its free wi-fi as a boost to Front Street businesses


The hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights in Natchitoches were turned off yesterday, but the free wi-fi stayed on. 

The Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce officially announced free high-speed wireless access along Front Street and the Riverbank with the start of its Christmas Festival in November. It’s been testing its wireless broadband since spring. Chamber CEO Tony Davis said the equipment was purchased through a grant from the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, and Suddenlink is providing access to wi-fi. Davis considers it a nice, unexpected perk in a town that’s 300 years old.

“There are a few other areas that are doing something like this. None is very near where we are," Davis said. "We thought it would be a great addition, especially when you look at the culture, history and how everything is really so old, to offer a thoroughly modern convenience like wireless. With so many tourists, we wanted to make sure it was free.”

The next tech upgrade on the horizon: Davis said the chamber plans to install downtown webcams this year in time to capture events related to Natchitoches’ tricentennial celebration.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.