Downtown's free WiFi expanding

Two businesses add signal transmitters

The free outdoor wireless Internet signal in downtown Nashville is expanding.

With the addition of a second “primary radio” on the Nashville Technology Council’s headquarters this week, and the participation of two downtown businesses, the network now extends farther into the central business district and SoBro.

The signal — which previously covered Second Avenue and Broadway to the Cumberland River and Fifth Avenue — now stretches up Third Avenue to Union Street and between Seventh Avenue and Third Avenue on Commerce Street and Broadway, according to Tech Council President and CEO Tod Fetherling.

The Tech Council launched the network in February with one radio at its offices on Third and Commerce, intending to create a strong downtown signal that could be extended outward by businesses that install smaller transmitters or “nodes” to their existing wireless networks. Fetherling told in January he envisioned the network stretching along major corridors like West End Avenue, Gallatin Road and Murfreesboro Road.

This week, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce joined the effort, Fetherling said, by sponsoring the radio that was added to their building. In addition, two businesses have added smaller transmitters — Billy Joe’s Tattoo and Piercing at the corner of Broadway and Third and Advanced Network Solutions in the building at 105 Broadway.

"I think it’s going to be great for the city," Fetherling said of the WiFi network's future expansion. "It’s like adding streets."