Yesterday, the city of Corpus Christi announced that the free Internet service that is being offered to the public through the city's wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) system is being extended through the end of July 2005.

The Wi-Fi program allows anyone who has a Wi-Fi enabled laptop computer to access the Internet in areas where the service is available. The city began offering the service as part of a pilot program in April of this year. Officials say since then, usage has grown to the point where more than 2,000 people a day are utilizing the service, and there are often more than 200 people using the service at the same time.

It was decided to extend the program because of the demand and to allow more residents to become used to the system, as well as to better enable those involved in the program to test the Wi-Fi coverage.

Currently, some 24 square miles of the city are covered by the system, including Corpus Christi International Airport, the Marina, and the downtown and central areas of the city. Future plans call for eventually expanding the Wi-Fi service citywide.

Free Wi-Fi Internet access was offered to the public beginning in April of this year and it will continue to be provided to city residents free of charge until the end of July.