At my request, Alderman Matt Villa will introduce a bill this morning that will allow the City to enter into an agreement with AT&T to create a city-wide WiFi network.
Although it has been a long time coming, this is a great opportunity for the City of St. Louis. City residents will have broadband wireless Internet access in return for us allowing AT&T to put their equipment on our light poles and street lights.
It is a win-win for both parties. It will benefit us, tourists, and businesses. AT&T will provide a limited free broadband wireless Internet access citywide. They will recoup their investment by providing fee-based offers for higher speeds.
The free service will help close the digital divide, provide Internet access for families on a budget, and be an amenity for tourists, convention goers and other visitors to our City. The paid service will be attractive to heavier users and high-end business customers who want faster wireless Internet.
If we stay on schedule, the new service will be available, starting in our Central Business District, later this year.