50 Austin Businesses to Get Free Public WiFi Hotspots

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Local computer company is flipping the bill for free public Internet in restaurants, bars and coffee shops.



...the Austin airport still doesn't have free wireless Internet access. That is embarrassing.

DiscountElectronics.com announced the launch of a pilot program called http://www.FreeAustinWifi.com on their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/discountelectronics on March 31st. According to the company CEO, Rick Culleton, Discount Electronics plans to install 50 completely free wireless Internet 'HotSpots' all over Austin. The focus will be on small, locally owned coffee shops, eateries and bars.

As of this release 5 locations were already up and running, including San Francisco Bakery, La Casita, El Nuevo (all on West Anderson Lane) and both Austin Slick Willies Family Pool Hall locations. Culleton said the company plans to have the remaining 45 establishments on line by the end of May.

"Three years ago I fully expected Austin to have nearly blanketed free WiFi service by now. As a consumer, I am frustrated by the lack of access and the number of locations that charge to use the Internet. It's hard to believe that in the year 2010 the Austin Airport still doesn't have free wireless Internet access. That is embarrassing," said Culleton. "If the city would let us, we'd put free WiFi in the airport and pick up the tab in full," he added.

Discount Electronics efforts are not total philanthropy. The company places stickers indicating the WiFi is courtesy of DiscountElectronics.com on the doors of participating businesses and puts signs in most locations as part of the arrangement.

DiscountElectronics.com is a privately held Texas corporation headquartered in Austin since 1997. The company has been on the Inc 5000 for the last three years and had revenue of $12.5M for 2009.. They have four retail locations in central Texas with 86 employees. Discount Electronics has been recognized twice by the Austin Business Journal with the Fast 50 Award and won the 2009 Austin Chronicle readers pole in the category 'Best Computer Store.'


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Rick Culleton
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