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Decatur May Try Free Wi-Fi

The free service would be offered in the business districts and three parks.

If the Decatur City Commission approves, the city will offer free wi-fi in the main business districts and in three city parks as a one-year experiment.

The proposal is on the agenda for the Monday city commission meeting that starts at 7:30 p.m. in city hall.

In a memo, Assistant City Manager Andrea Arnold says it's time to reduce the size of the original service area. Trees and utilty poles make service spotty in residential areas.

It's also time to replace the original Wi-FI equipment the city installed in 2008.  She proposes installing new equipment in the Decatur and Oakhurst business districts and in , and parks.

Expanding Wi-Fi is part of the city's strategic plan. After a year, the city will "assess the uptake rate, survey network users" and make a recommendation on the future of the Wi-Fi network.

In other business, the commission will vote on whether to give a $15,000 grant to the -- formerly called the Oakhurst Community Garden -- to purchase new real estate.

There is no work session Monday night. To see the full agenda, go to the city webpage. City commission meetings are broadcast live on Comcast channel 25. They are rebroadcast at 2 p.m. the Saturday after the meeting.

 

 

Van Gower August 06, 2012 at 10:33 AM
This really makes zero sense. To my mind, what the plan suggests is that if someone wants to use the free wi-fi, one must actually travel to a "business district" or one of the three parks and use the service outdoors. (???) And incidentally, there are businesses -- like coffee shops -- in places like Oakhurst and the downtown Decatur district that currently provide free wi-fi. It's neither practical nor convenient. What's more, didn't the City of Decatur already try the free wi-fi "experiment" before, then went to a paid usage plan?
Ralph Ellis August 06, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Have you ever used Decatur Wi-Fi? Satisfied with the experience?
taxus August 06, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Not everything Decatur does is "strategic" nor does it make economic sense for the tax payer. This is one of them
Jim Auchmutey August 06, 2012 at 11:48 AM
How much would this cost? Sounds like a worthy idea if it isn't too expensive.
Van Gower August 06, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Ralph, I've not used it because by the time I'd move here, the city had done away with the free service. I was really disappointed when I found out that I would have to pay for that, so I don't. Which makes it a hassle to walk to the library and bite my tongue to keep from cursing aloud at their verrry slow wi-fi anytime I need to get online (or walk to Kavarna, etc). I would order internet at home if I was working and could afford it.
Ralph Ellis August 06, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Jim, the city estimates it would cost about $24,000 yearly to cover related costs of the network.
Van Gower August 06, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Even now, I'm having to use my phone Web browser because I can't get wi-fi at home.
bulldogger August 06, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Hey, quit griping people. Decatur's got plenty of money.....let's spend some of it. This is a better idea than "Banning Bicycles and Skateboards" on our city streets.
Nancy Wilkinson August 07, 2012 at 03:08 AM
I used to use it at Adair Park just to hop on and check email from my iPod. Several people used to bring their dogs to the park and let them play while they worked on laptops or net books. Our cable Internet at home was a little unstable for a while, we were able to pick up Decatur wifi in the front room. I liked having it as a backup on telecommute days. Worked fine for me when needed, never felt that it was consistent enough to drop my cable service and pay for city Internet though.
Nancy Wilkinson August 07, 2012 at 03:09 AM
The humans worked, dogs played.

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