Economic Development and Technology

Iserv extends free Wi-Fi network downtown

September 25, 2013
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Grand Rapids' Blue Bridge closes for the summer
Grand Rapids’ Blue Bridge connects GVSU’s Eberhard Campus with Campau Square Avenue. Photo via fb.com

A new free Wi-Fi hot spot is now permanently in place in downtown Grand Rapids, thanks to a collaboration between Iserv and ArtPrize.

During ArtPrize 2013, Grand Rapids-based Iserv, an Internet, voice and data provider, has expanded its free Wi-Fi hot spots in downtown Grand Rapids to include the Pedestrian Bridge, or the Blue Bridge, which connects downtown with the Grand Valley State University Eberhard Center.

“ArtPrize continues to be a perfect opportunity for Iserv to expand free Wi-Fi to the downtown community and beyond,” said Jim Palmisano, Iserv COO. “We had overwhelming success last year when our network was used by thousands of unique visitors to participate in the event.”

The ongoing partnership between Iserv and ArtPrize is part of a multi-year sponsorship of the event, according to an Iserv announcement.

Wi-Fi hot spots

In addition to the Blue Bridge, Iserv’s downtown Wi-Fi network already includes ArtPrize venues like the ArtPrize Clubhouse at J. Gardella’s Tavern, ArtPrize’s HUB headquarters, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum and Rosa Parks Circle.

Iserv’s free Wi-Fi will continue at Rosa Parks Circle, HUB, GRAM, GRPM and now the Blue Bridge all year long, said Jeff Potter, Iserv director of business development.

“It’s a pretty significant endeavor for us, just because you’re maintaining it year round now,” Potter said. “It’s been well received and very successful. Last year, we had over 10,000 unique users just for the 19-day period of Art Prize, and this year, we’ll far exceed that."

Awareness

“We don’t have a dollar value that we’ve associated with the cost of it,” added Potter. “We maintain and support it. We have labor and staff and equipment we’ve purchased.

“It definitely increases our brand awareness, gets our name out there.”

Potter said the Wi-Fi network "definitely increases our brand awareness" and "gets our name out there.”

People now know more about Iserv, he said, and “appreciate our commitment to the community, too.”

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