February 4, 2004

CTB Goes Cyber

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Ithaca Bakery and Collegetown Bagels stores all over Ithaca are going wireless. Collegetown Bagels on College Avenue is the first to be hooked up, unbeknownst to many of its customers, with its wireless internet connection already up and operating. The other five locations are scheduled to follow in the next few days.

The provider for the internet service is Ithaca-based Lightlink, through its program of Lightlink HotSpots. All users of the Lightlink HotSpots will have access to free e-mail and basic web browsing. Customer demand and the advance of technology helped lead to the idea.

“This means that customers can sit down, hook up and have access to the Internet and everything it offers — e-mail, research, banking — all within reach of the good food and comfortable environment they already enjoy in all our stores,” said Ramsey Brous, co-owner of Ithaca Bakery and Collegetown Bagels, in a press release. “One thing we particularly like, apart from being able to serve our customers’ needs, is that this is an entirely local arrangement between two Ithaca-based businesses.”

Instructions for net users will be provided in several ways, both online and on posters in the host stores. More features will be available for a fee to those who sign up for them, and the high-speed connections will give users a full range of convenient Internet options. Homer Smith, owner of Lightlink, said, “We love CTB. A better match could not have been made in heaven.”

Brous emphasized that unlike other public wireless connections in places like airports or Starbucks, the basic service at Ithaca Bakery and Collegetown Bagels stores will be offered at no charge.

Many people already feel that CTB is easier to get to than campus when they need to get out of the house to get some work done, and internet access will make it even more inviting. “I might start doing work there now. It’s a much easier commute than the library,” said Dan Greenwald ’05.

Of course, the connection won’t benefit everyone — namely people without portable computers. “It sounds like a great idea, but I don’t have a laptop,” said Jessica Schiffman grad. This sentiment was echoed by many PC-bound owners, despite the popularity of laptops.

But considering the number of people who already frequent Collegetown haunts with laptops, textbooks and papers, the service will still be put to good use.

“It’s wonderful!” said Chrisi Sarmiento-Gawiak ’04, after finding out about the plans. “I’ll be there every day after school now!”

Many customers at the Collegetown CTB location, however, did not seem to know that it is already hooked up for wireless. There did not seem to be any posters or signs announcing the new service.

Once word gets out, though, CTB will surely be an even hotter spot than it is now. Students often feel that working in a public setting can be less distracting than working at home and sometimes lets them get more done. “I just hope they don’t mind me sitting there with a 45 cent bagel for 4 hours of work!” Greenwald said.

Archived article by Lauryn Slotnick