Downtown Champaign receives free wireless from Pavlov Media

By Matthew Richardson

Downtown Champaign is littered with shops, cafes and restaurants that give the area its character. Recently, an addition without bricks or mortar was made to the downtown area that might give it a little more definition.

Starting around the first week of August, all of downtown Champaign has had access to a wireless broadband connection provided by Pavlov Media, a company headquartered in downtown Champaign that provides television, Internet and telephone services to apartments throughout the United States.

“Mostly we did it because our corporate headquarters is right here in the downtown (Champaign) area, and we’ve watched the area grow,” said Dorothy Kallmayer, business development manager for Pavlov Media.

The bill for the initial purchase of the equipment for the wireless broadband connection is a gift from Pavlov Media.

The continual operating expenses, such as maintenance and the actual broadband connection, are also being paid for by the company.

“Pavlov always wanted to see a wireless network (in Champaign),” Kallmayer said. “We wanted people to know we were here, and the best way to do that was to give a gift to the city.”

Kallmayer said the response that Pavlov Media has gotten from the community thus far has been positive.

“We have gotten a lot of feedback from the merchants in the area that are just really excited about having the service,” Kallmayer said. “There’s been a lot of gratitude expressed.”

Currently the wireless is accessible in a 10 to 12 block area, extending as far as West Side Park. However, the wireless is designed to be accessible only on the outside, and not from the inside of any of the stores and shops in downtown Champaign.

“The goal is to make the cafe spaces up and down the streets of downtown (Champaign) free Wi-Fi enabled,” said TJ Blakeman, city planner.

Many of the businesses in downtown Champaign already had free wireless broadband for their customers before the wireless system was put into action. Paul West, owner of Cafe Kopi, 109 N. Walnut St. in downtown Champaign, one of the cafes that previously had free wireless, still approves of the addition to the area.

“It’s a nice idea, especially for Champaign,” West said.