April 05, 2005
You can now surf the Internet for free in Downtown Dayton. Your wireless computer, P.D.A., or cell phone can now surf the Internet for free if it's Wi-Fi equipped. The free service is available within one square mile around downtown.
The city will pay about $5,000 a year for it, but most of the cost is paid for by the advertisers.
Daily Wireless reports that if the pilot is successful, the wifi cloud will be extended over the whole city.
Look at the cost: $5,000 per year, mostly defrayed by advertising. Opponents of municipal broadband are full of concern, trying to protect cities from the cost and risk. But today's wifi technology is cheap.
The city is managing its risk. They are starting with a pilot, and will extend it if the pilot works.
The project is deployed by a private business, Harborlink Network.
The city is being open and transparent, inviting competitive bids with a public RFP.
Amenities such as this will attract people to spend time in Dayton. Cities choose to spend money on trees, sidewalks, and many other amenities. This sort of decision should be up to the city.