RALEIGH — The state Department of Transportation has introduced free Internet service on vessels that make the long runs across Pamlico Sound between Ocracoke Island and the mainland.
WiFi routers have been installed on five ferry vessels that take passengers to Ocracoke from Cedar Island and Swan Quarter. A sixth vessel now undergoing maintenance service also will be outfitted with WiFi when it returns to service.
“Both of our Pamlico Sound routes take more than two hours, so this will allow passengers to get some work done or engage in social media while they travel,” said Jed Dixon, the DOT Ferry Division deputy director.
It’s a pilot program, and the first time DOT has offered WiFi service for ferry riders. DOT is paying U.S. Cellular $5,472 a year for the service. If it works out, Dixon said, DOT will look for sponsors to expand it.
The General Assembly this year authorized the Ferry Division to look for new revenue options including advertising, concessions, Internet service and other sources.
Siceloff: 919-829-4527 or blogs.newsobserver.com/crosstown. On Twitter @Road_Worrier.