Surfing the web on the Intracoastal Waterway
A Wilmington company called icwifi.net provides high-speed wireless internet access to boaters. Now checking the forecast on the water is just a click away.
Year round, boats stroll up and down the Intracoastal Waterway in Wrightsville Beach. Many have laptops on board, but couldn’t get a connection…until icwifi.net came along.
“If you’re out in the water and you don’t have a good radar and you’ve got a storm coming and you’re deciding do you go in for the night, or do you stay out hooked up for the rest of the night, you have to be able to see that and with icwifi, we’ll allow you to do that,” said marketing manager Anna Hoggard.
If you’re in the Motts or Banks channels of the ICW, you’re in the coverage zone. When you click on the internet, a screen will pop up prompting you to sign up for icwifi.
The service costs $3 per day, $10 per week, or $30 per month.
You’ll get a code you’ll punch in to surf the web. “You can be in your house with the same code, and get on your boat with your laptop and go over to Masonboro Island and get on the internet there, so you can sit on the beach, sit on the dock, or sit on the porch,” Hoggard explained.
People on shore can use the connection too, as icwifi.net has several antennas along the ICW like on top of Mott’s Channel Seafood.
“It’s good reliable high speed internet, we use it everyday,” said Motts’ manager Tom Franz who uses the connection to check the weather so he knows when to expect boats coming in with fresh seafood.
The company just started in March. In the coming months, icwifi.net hopes to expand their service to the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington, as far south as Myrtle Beach, and north to Morehead City.
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