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Town of Chapel Hill Wifi Pilot

Chapel Hill Town Wifi mapLink to PDF of the map.

Announced at the end of last week by the Town of Chapel Hill:

08/30/2007 – The Town of Chapel Hill this Friday will activate six Wi-Fi hotspots in the downtown area, giving the public free access to the internet along much of Franklin Street.

The provision of wireless internet service to citizens has ranked as a top priority goal for the Town Council. The launching of wireless hotspots in downtown is considered a pilot project and step forward toward this goal. The hotspots, which show up on wireless devices as “TOWNofCH-WiFi,” are located at the following:

1. U.S. Post Office, 179 E. Franklin St.

2. Old Town Hall (IFC Shelter), 100 W. Rosemary St.

3. Town Parking Lot 5, 108 Church St.

4. Hargraves Center, 216 N. Roberson St.

5. Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau, 501 W. Franklin St.

6. 411 West Restaurant, 411 W. Franklin St.

Bob Avery, information technology director, said users within 300 feet of a hotspot should be able to connect, although the ability to connect will depend on the capability of the user’s device and the amount of obstructions between the user and the antenna. For a street level user, trees, buses, trucks and buildings will all reduce the quality of the connection signal.

The Town will soon provide information to the public by website, media and signage to help promote the hotspots and explain how they may be used. More information will be provided at the homepage of

The hotspots have been installed using Clearwire modems. These are attached to standard Wi-Fi access points with high gain antenna to provide the signal for public use.

The Town will not provide direct user support but does hope to be able to respond to and resolve outages or other service problems as they occur. To report comments and problems, please contact the Town at


  1. Has anyone looked wether Wi-Fi is the best technology to give coverage to an entire downtown area? I can barely get decent coverage in the same house, let alone try to blanket entire blocks! Not that I’m complaining about the end goal, mind you, it just seems like the technology wasn’t designed for this type of application.

  2. Is providing city wifi really such a good idea? The government in my country would love to be able to monitor my internet connection – what better way than to charge me for municipal wifi so that I can’t afford private IP connectivity ? Further discussion here.

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