Lightning strikes result in changes to Gloucester Main Street public WiFi

That old adage that lightning doesn't strike twice? Hogwash. Rubbish even.

After the county's microwave system antennas atop water towers in the Court House area were hit for the third time by lightning -- most recently in October --  it spelled the end of the Main Street wireless internet supplied by Gloucester County.

"We decided to replace that with something that no longer required us to hire a company to climb the water towers," said Scott Varner, director of information technology and GIS for the county. "We were losing money every time this happened, not to mention the down time."

The microwave system was how the county's remote sites connected to the network. So the department came up with several ways to replace network access for the Gloucester Public Library on Main Street, the county garage, utilities annex, water treatment plant, all three water towers and Beaverdam Park, Varner said.

The county contracted with Cox Communications to provide open WiFi access on the Colonial Courthouse Green. Internet is available for meetings in the Colonial Courthouse, as well as access for tourists making the rounds of the visitor's center and historic buildings, Varner said.

"This is completely off the county network, so we won't have any security concerns about open public internet access affecting critical county systems," he said.

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