Deal keeps free Wi-Fi at Vt rest areas - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Deal keeps free Wi-Fi at Vt rest areas

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Peggy Farabaugh Peggy Farabaugh

Peggy Farabaugh doesn't stop at welcome centers just for the coffee or the facilities; she stops for work.

"I come here to welcome centers to check in and check email," she said.

She works for Vermont Woods Studios, representing Vermont woodworkers and furniture makers online.

"The welcome centers have helped me grow my business because it's so convenient to have the free Wi-Fi when I'm on my way to see somebody," Farabaugh said.

Lucky for her the Wi-Fi will stay free. The state was looking for ways to curb expenses in tight times, and the almost $40,000 a year Wi-Fi was close to being cut.

"I think the public expects to have Wi-Fi available to them whether it's in an airport or public place," said Ed von Turkovich of the Vt. Buildings and General Services Department.

That's when Al Levy stepped in and picked up the bill in exchange for promoting his Route 802 cellphone apps with signs at the welcome centers.

"We are establishing a new marketing platform for Vermont by creating a family of 23 mobile applications that represent the entire state," Levy said.

"This was a wonderful opportunity to eliminate the cost of Wi-Fi," von Turkovich said.

In the past five years, 200,000 users have connected to free Wi-Fi at Vermont rest stops. And for frequent visitors like Farabaugh, the convenience and the price will have her coming back.

"Going back to the days where we had to pay for Wi-Fi-- that's in the past," she said. "It's never going to happen again."

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