Free Riverfront Park wifi and municipal broadband are on tonight’s agenda as city staff present a broadband market feasibility proposal to city council. Given the go ahead, a $100,000 consultant will suggest the best approach in six months, which may include a pilot project of free wifi in Riverfront Park.
“A pilot Wi-Fi project would potentially be undertaken in Riverfront Park due to topography and property ownership. A pilot Wi-Fi project in this area would cost $40,000 to $50,000 to install five-to-ten access points. Technical support hours and costs and long-term financial viability are not known at this time.”
While the report offers a smorgasbord of options, we’re advocating for municipal broadband and the creation of a community mesh of publicly-owned Network Operation Centers (Salem-Keizer Schools, City of Salem, State of Oregon) that provides 100 gigabit speeds for around $40. The meeting is 6:00 p.m. tonight in council chambers.
Sign the petition for municipal broadband.
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More from the report:
Additionally, this analysis would explore various municipal models for broadband service. The City of Eugene, as well as other cities in Oregon and across the nation have undertaken similar projects. Projects have ranged in scope from geographically- limited free Wi-Fi, owning and operating a broadband network as a municipal utility, installing and leasing conduit to broadband providers, and installing both conduit and fiber and leasing fiber strands to broadband providers to spur competition and faster internet service.
This proposal assumes that a consultant will be retained to lead the market analysis. This research may be completed within six months of entering into a consultant contract for services. Pilot broadband and Wi-Fi projects may be recommended depending on the research results.