Monday, January 30, 2006

Wifi in Everett, why not Oly (Tumwater, and Lacey)?

Everett, our former mill-town brother to the north (aren't all Puget Sound cities above a certain age "former mill towns?) is thinking about wifi. Specifically about this company.

Everett Herald:
City Councilman Drew Nielsen, who sparked a discussion of the possibility at the council's annual retreat early this month, said the city could decide whether to pursue municipal Wi-Fi, or wireless fidelity, within 30 days.

"This would tell people something they may not realize: that Everett is very technologically capable," Nielsen said.

By year's end, everyone with a wireless-enabled computer in the city could have access to high-speed Internet service - completely free.

Everett residents who currently pay anywhere from $10 for dial-up Internet service to $50 or more for broadband service could use MetroFi's Wi-Fi service for free. Those who frequent local hot spots, or wireless access points, as an alternative to residential Internet service could surf the Web at home.

Knowing what he knows about what MetroFi could do for Everett, Nieslen believes that if the city acted quickly, it could be part of a new wave in technology.

I'll be interested in keeping up with the discussion up there because setting up a wifi network would be similar in Everett as it would be to in Olympia/Lacey/Tumwater. If you compare the total landspace and population of OLT (116 square km, 86,000 folks) and Everett (126 and 91,000) they're pretty similar. If it could happen in Everett, it can happen here.

Plus, we have the benefit of being the state capital. What kind of company wouldn't want to wifi the state capital?

UPDATE: When I first read the article above, I got this 1999 internet bubble sort of feeling about MetroFi, the company that Everett wanted to bring to town. But, looks like I might be wrong. They just dropped their for cost version and are going totally "free" because they're making enough money from ads.


Karan said...

I've heard rumors that the City Council is making some quiet noise about WiFi. I hope they go for it.

Emmett said...

There was a short discussion in the budget committee of the city council on whether to persue a city wide network. They decided to take a wait and see approach.

There is also a non-profit in town (CIRGO) that seems to be thinking about the same kind of thing, but I've been unable to dig up any details on them.