Madison's plan to offer wireless Internet connectivity downtown raises some interesting public policy issues that connect nicely to both articles we're reading this week. But so far as I know there has been virtually no public discussion of the project. Here's the latest from the Cap Times:
City Dickering Over Wireless Net Access
The Capital Times :: METRO :: 2C
Monday, February 28, 2005
The city of Madison has started negotiations with SkyCable/AOL to provide the city's "Wi-Fi" wireless Internet access network, which will begin serving the Dane County Regional Airport and downtown later this year and may be expanded in the future.
SkyCable/AOL was selected as the preferred vendor over SBC and InSite Wireless. SBC and InSite still could become the provider if the city and SkyCable/AOL can't make a deal.
No tax dollars will be involved in building or operating the service. The provider will pay the county, city and state for the right to run the network. Access to some Web sites will be free, with full Web access available for a fee on a daily, monthly or long-term basis.
"This initiative continues the city's tradition of being at the leading edge of emerging technologies and is a major step forward for my Healthy City initiative," Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said.
As I understand it, free access on the network will be limited to city-produced websites. General Internet access to the Web and to email will be on a fee basis only.
What do you think about what the city is planning to do?