A recent news article by an Associated Press writer mentioned that some cities that have built public wireless Internet systems have found that fewer than expected residents are logging on to the systems and that construction costs have exceeded initial projections, costing the municipalities that agreed to pay for them millions of unanticipated dollars.
That won’t happen here when our citywide system starts rolling out later this year.
Under our agreement with AT&T to create a citywide WiFi network, the company — not the City — will pay the construction costs for the system. The agreement exchanges the construction costs and the use of light poles and street lights for limited free broadband Internet access citywide, fee-based higher speed access, and potential to use the system for municipal services.
In light of the cautions in the AP story, St. Louis’s agreement probably turns out to be a good one.