Popular Science magazine’s recent list of in a list of Top Hi-Tech Cities ranked Seattle and Olympia number one and two respectively in the “Connected Citizenry” category.

The article Technopolis Found, cites the proliferation of Wi-Fi access points as a primary contributor to the high rankings. “The most wired (and unwired) city in the nation, Seattle has 57 Wi-Fi hotspots per 100,000 people; the national average is more like 18.” Author Rena Marie Pacella also points out that many of access points are free and/or volunteer run.

In the Puget Sound area, over 20 “Surfbreak” locations serve up complimentary Wi-Fi access powered by Olympia-based Internet Service Provider, Zhonka Broadband. Bucking the pay-for-use model used by most national coffee and bookseller chains, free locations include a variety of espresso cafes, micro-brew pubs, independent bookshops and even a bike shop.

Zhonka views these Surfbreaks as both a promotional tool and a community resource. Zhonka’s Jacob Stewart points out, “These free Wi-Fi locations facilitate innovative public access in the communities we serve as well as demonstrating Zhonka’s high speed DSL services.”

Surfbreak locations find that free Wi-Fi is a desirable amenity for attracting clientele. Olympia coffee roaster, Batdorf and Bronson, feature free Wi-Fi at two downtown retail locations. B&B’s Jen Boelts notes that, “Free wireless access at our coffeehouses provide a great opportunity for professionals and students to be portable and work in relaxed environment while enjoying a beverage.”

Popular Science developed the “Connected Citizenry” rankings by researching wireless access points, number of households with computers, and hi-speed connectivity options. Seattle ranked 11th overall including categories of: Transportation; Medical; Jobs; Education; and Energy. Minneapolis/St. Paul took top honors while Olympia, one the smaller cities surveyed, added a 102nd place to a list of recent media accolades.

Zhonka Surfbreaks are also found in Ocean Shores, Aberdeen, Lakewood, and DuPont. Visit for a complete list and info for new Surfbreak locations.


Issued by Zhonka Broadband, Dave Olson, 360-515-3334, dave (at)
- Jacob Stewart, Zhonka Broadband, 360-357-8776, cosmo (at)
- Jen Boelts, Batdorf and Bronson, 360-754-5282, jenb (at)
- Popular Science, “Technopolis Found,” March 1, 2005,,20967,1027543,00.html (new window)

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