WALTON COUNTY — Walton County commissioners are working to help residents stay connected online by approving new public WiFi accesses to be installed throughout the county.
The 11 hot spots should be operational by early summer, county spokesman Louis Svehla said. They will cost around $1,500 each and be funded by the county's telecommunications budget, he added.
Locations will include: Walton County Fire Rescue stations in Gaskin and Glendale, United Fire District, Walton County Sheriff Office substations in Paxton and Mossy Head, the Walton County Courthouse, the Walton County Courthouse Annex, the Walton County Jail and Walton County Fire Rescue in Choctaw Beach, which WCSO spokeswoman Lindsey Batchelor said will be relocated to Western Street and Highway 20.
Two other pending locations include an access at either Freeport Business Complex, or Walton County Fire Rescue in Freeport, and Walton County Fire Rescue in Windswept, which Batchelor said will also be relocated, but to an undecided location.
During the March 26 meeting, Jason Cook, an information technology coordinator for the county, said each hot spot would provide up to 1,000 feet of coverage depending on the direction of its antennas.
Svehla said these additional accesses stemmed from the success of a previously installed WiFi hot spot at the Walton County Fire Rescue station in Red Bay.
"We've been working on trying to get broadband for a long time," Svehla said. "This is something that we're proud that we're able to do. ... We're going to try and work with private companies that can hopefully expand access to the homes in this area."