Chester Co. to get wireless Internet

CHESTER -- Chester County is going wireless.

This week, a line-free Internet system will be installed in the clerk of court's office at the downtown courthouse.

When many county offices move to the Omnova Solutions building on the J.A. Cochran By-Pass, that building will be hooked up with the same feature.

The move will allow people with laptop computers to send e-mails or research information on the Internet while they look up files in a county office.

"I think it'll be a good thing," said Chester County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey. The system should be installed this week, he said.

County Councilman Brad Jordan proposed the idea of going wireless at a council meeting last month, and leaders agreed to add the system at last week's meeting.

Jordan, an attorney, said wireless access in the courthouse will be an asset to the public as well as to people in his profession.

"Just doing any type of litigation, occasionally, you have a need to research," he said. "And if you have that capability right there in the courthouse rather that having to call out to your office ... it would make things easier."

Perhaps the person who will benefit the most from a wireless system is Joanie Winters, the county's attorney.

During council meetings, Winters said leaders occasionally will ask her questions about state laws.

"I would so love to be able to give them an answer on the spot," she said, noting that she can't carry all of her statute books to a meeting.

But a few key strokes will immediately take her to any state law she wants to see. That, she said, makes her more efficient as an attorney and the council more efficient because leaders won't have to delay decisions.

Many courthouses are putting records on the Internet, she said. Chester County has many online references where people can search titles and see if taxes have been paid.

"I'm excited about it," she said of the new system. "I think it'll be wonderful. And I think that many of the attorneys who spend countless hours down in a courtroom will appreciate it, too."

Because of such advantages, when leaders made the decision to buy the Omnova building, Winters asked Roddey if he would consider going wireless.

"It just makes sense," she said. "If we've got coffee shops that do it, government should do it. It just makes everybody more efficient."

The technology upgrades to the courthouse will cost the county $171.55 in equipment and installation fees and $52.95 per month for the service.