Armed with access to “Connect Philly” and instructions to roam the Germantown section of Philadelphia, two writers recently set out on a mission to find WiFi access for a NewsWorks story.
An elusive thing in this part of Northwest Philadelphia, they already knew that branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia offer free computers with wireless accessibility.
However, when they stopped by several restaurants, employees shook their heads, saying “sorry, no WiFi.” This, even at cafes with coffee and outdoor seating available. (We’re looking at you, Maplewood Mall.)
Connect Philly is a service that enables a search for internet-accessible locations. You have to send a text message to (215) 240-7296 to access it from the field. Then, the service responds with user-friendly information including address and phone number of the establishment, as well as whether it is currently open.
Brian James Kirk, co-founder of Technically Philly, said the idea came about after realizing that more than 40 percent of Philadelphians without broadband access did not have a master list of retail and public locations that offer free or cheap internet access.
Kirk said Connect Philly, which they developed for the City, currently lists more than 200 locations. They hope to add more, and invite you to let them know if you offer WiFi but are not currently listed.
Here’s what NewsWorks discovered after logging onto the service endorsed by none other than Mayor Michael Nutter at a handful of locations:
• Germantown Avenue and East Pastorius Street. CP said: “Free Library – West Oak Lane Branch 2000 Washington Lane Wifi Tel.: 215-685-2843.”
• Germantown Avenue and West Queen Lane. “Dignity Housing II, 5151 Wayne Ave. Wifi Tel.: 215-713-0960.”
• Wayne and West Chelten avenues. “Community College of Philadelphia Northwest Regional Center 1300 W. Godfrey Ave. Wifi Tel.: 215-684-1016.”
• After selecting “1” to see the next location, CP said: “Free Library – West Oak Lane Branch 2000 Washington Lane Wifi Tel.: 215-685-2843.”
• After selecting “2” to see the next location from there, “Free Library – Ogontz Branch 6017 Ogontz Ave. Wifi Tel.: 215-685-3566.”
• After selecting “3” to see yet another location, “Free Library – Greater Olney Branch. 5501 N. 5th St. Wifi Tel.: 215-685-2846.”
• Stenton Avenue and Logan Street. “Free Library – Logan Branch. 1333 Wagner Ave. Wifi Tel.: 215-685-9156.”
• East Washington Lane and Chew Avenue. “Waterview Recreation Center. 5826 McMahon St. Tel. 215-685-2229.”
• West Haines Street and Germantown Avenue. “Free Library – Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library 68 W. Chelten Ave. Tel. 215-685-2150.”
• Germantown Avenue and East School House Lane. “Free Library – Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library 68 W. Chelten Ave. Tel. 215-685-2150.” (The Friends Free Library at 5418 Germantown Ave. is closer, and the public is allowed to use computers there after providing valid photo ID.)
• Wayne and West Chelten avenues. “Pennsylvania Career Link Northwest located at 235 W. Chelten Ave. Tel. 215-560-5151.” (The computers there are designated for people utilizing the center’s services, though.)
Though they did not come up via CP, both the McDonald’s at 29 E. Chelten Ave. and the Dunkin’ Donuts at 5753 Wayne Ave. offered the service, as will Wired Beans Café when it opens in Chelten Plaza by the end of June. In a late entry from West Oak Lane, WiFi is also available at Cafe Internet on the Avenue, 7601 Ogontz Ave.
Who did we miss?
Do you offer WiFi in Germantown or West Oak Lane, or know of someplace that does, but didn’t see it mentioned here?
Please tell us in the comments section and add your site to the list via technicallyphilly.com.
NewsWorks will update the map of WiFi locations in the Germantown area.
Technically Philly is a NewsWorks content partner that covers the trends and news that affects Philadelphia’s technology community.