By Diane Glidewell
Council member Greg Goolsby said every time he is on the square in Forsyth someone tells him the city needs to do something about the poor cell phone service. He said he was bringing this to the Oct. 4 council again because it is brought to him so frequently. Jody Defore, a member of Leadership Monroe who was attending the meeting as a Leadership activity, said she agreed with the need to do something about the cell phone situation in downtown Forsyth.
“Is there some way we can boost the cell phone service,” said Goolsby. “Other cities have.”
Council member Mike Dodd said he has a booster at his house, and Mayor Eric Wilson said he used to install boosters done by a company called Wilson Electronics (with the name being a coincidence and not connected with him.)
“I didn’t know there was one that would cover all,” said city manager Janice Hall.
On its website Wilson Electronics has cell phone boosters that cover up to 100,000 sq. ft. buildings with a designed network of antennas.
At the end of the Aug. 2 council meeting, when asked if council members had any other issues to discuss, Goolsby said that Wi-Fi on the square is bad and is hurting businesses, especially restaurants.
“Can we investigate what we can do to boost the signal?” he asked.
City manager Janice Hall said that although the city had offered wifi when it owned the Forsyth cable company, she didn’t think the current owner, Forsyth Cable, offers Wi-Fi . Mayor Eric Wilson added that when the city owned the cable company it offered open Wi-Fi as an amenity to citizens, visitors and businesses on the square.
Council member Mike Dodd asked if Wi-Fi will be available in Forsyth’s new city hall.
“Not for the public,” answered Hall. “Each business has its own supplier.
“Cell service in town isn’t great, but that’s a different issue,” said Wilson.
Hall said she thought that service might get better when Cox Cable runs through Forsyth, but wifi and cell service would still be the responsibility of individuals and businesses.
Goolsby told Hall to have the Forsyth Convention & Visitors Bureau director Gilda Stanbery research who the majority of downtown businesses use as their providers. Dodd said Wi-Fi is a public relations benefit, and Wilson added it is a benefit to businesses.
On Oct. 5 Stanbery said she hadn’t been asked to research service providers in downtown Forsyth. However she said that she, like Goolsby, often hears from business owners and visitors about the need for better wifi and cell phone service. Business owners are often frustrated with how long it takes to run a credit card. She supports whatever will provide better experiences for businesses and visitors in Forsyth.
“Sometimes we can’t control things,” said council member Chris Hewett.
“We can control whatever we want,” said council member Julius Stroud.