Municipal wi-fi hasn’t really taken off, well at least not like it should have.
There are many reasons for this, initial cost, lack of public ‘interest’, emerging technologies etc. etc.
Municipalities need to stop thinking of wi-fi as a utility and instead, start thinking about how they can utilize it, they need to stop thinking of how it can make them money and instead how it can save them money.
Computers are becoming increasing for everyone, young, elderly and in between. However in today’s ‘online’ world, a stand-alone computer doesn’t prove to be of much use at all.
Education is realizing the value of laptops to it’s students and teachers. For years schools have given their staff laptops to take home to continue their workday out of the classroom. Entering grades, marking papers, preparing classes and so on.
More and more educational institutions are starting to provide laptops for their students. Researching and writing papers, checking grades, taking tests… and whatever else students are supposed to be doing on their computers.
It is increasingly crucial for schools themselves to be online, many have installed wi-fi networks, making it easier for anyone within the school to get online.
Police departments have the need to be connected in and out of the station. Officers have the need to find personal and vehicular information, quickly and at any given time. For this reason police cars have internet connected laptop computers in their cars, often paying a service fee per computer.
Fire departments and their apparatus have an increasing need to be connected. Reporting, grants, exams, training, research, communications and more are now done via the internet.
Municipal offices, staff, vehicles etc that would benefit from an internet connection.
A simple internet connection is only the surf of what municipal wi-fi has to offer. There is VOIP, unified communications, remote location access, server consolidation, file management, centralized backup and more.
Any given municipality can reap the rewards of any or all of the above using a simple network. A wi-fi network makes this all dynamic, flexible, mobile, scalable.
Also, in an emergency situation it is fairly simple to relocate if necessary and quickly replace access points or repeaters where a hard wired network would have failed. Staff would be able to work/communicate from home or relocated offices with relative ease.
With the introduction of a municipality wide wi-fi network each vehicle, office, station and municipal employee would not need it’s own internet connection and it’s own bill, instead they could attach directly to the wireless network.
With the introduction of wi-fi/cellular phones telecommunications costs can be cut dramatically through users making their calls over the network while in the area, saving cellular minutes.
There can even be energy savings too. Manufacturers are introducing solar powered outdoor routers/access points.
Of course there would be initial installation expenses, as with any technologies but these costs can be recouped by offering the wi-fi internet service to public and commercial residents by charging hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly for their internet service or even simply make living in the area more attractive with free internet.