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Wireless At Mission A Mixed Blessing

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The Templo Histórico de Pueblo Viejo in Caborca, Sonora, Mex.

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Mexico’s media conglomerate, Telmex, announced this week that it’s installed wireless Internet in a historic mission in Caborca, Sonora.

Leaving the obvious alone for the moment –- who checks their laptop inside a church? (okay, let’s not leave the obvious alone; again, who checks their laptop inside a church?!) –- a few words on the mission. The Jesuits who came to Sonora and Arizona with Father Kino built the Templo Histórico de Pueblo Viejo in 1694.

Since then, it’s been torched in native uprisings, flooded, allowed to deteriorate and each time, someone else came along and rebuilt the mission.

It is an awesome scene, one of those missions that rises from the stark desert floor, visible from miles away.

So, Telmex? Wireless?

Well, last week, the city’s mayor and the media giant held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the mission. A Telmex representative told folks his company is now the principal provider of services for everyone in Caborca. Even in the church, I suppose.

To be fair, of course, the system will also cover the church plaza and the nearby park. You won’t find me complaining when I need to file a story from Caborca.

From a public relations standpoint, it’s a smart move, tying the company's infrastructure to the bedrock of Mexican history, integrating itself into the the tallest buildings of old cities. Here in Tucson, I couldn’t even get my old Internet company to answer their phone.

Wal-Mart had much the same kind of plan back in 2004 when it built a big-box store in Teotihuacan, at the foot of the ancient Aztec Pyramids of the Sun. But you know what? I’ve shopped there, too.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.