Friday, May 30, 2008

Dover's Wi-Fi Moving Forward

Once again, flying in the face of such wicked media-driven wi-fi flame-outs as Philadelphia and San Francisco, we are seeing that smaller cities are fulfilling the promise of municipal wireless Internet. And they're showing it's not that hard.

Yesterday's Foster's reported that the Dover NH City Council OK'd the plan to install wi-fi access points throughout the main downtown corridor. All it took was this:

1. Last year, Dover Main Street and Dover Chamber of Commerce applied for, and received, a $10,000 from the state Dept of Economic Development.

2. In December, Dover negotiated another $25,000 from Comcast when they re-upped their Cable Franchise Renewal Agreement. This is smart for both sides. Comcast has essentially a monopoly, so why not give a little back to the city? Gains a lot of good will, and since they offer Internet services, it's mission-centric to boot. Meanwhile, the city is well within its rights to ask for a little something in return for the franchise. It's your prototypical win-win.

3. Dover ponies up $30,000 of its own. This, too, is key. Many cities go too far one way or the other -- either they expect someone to come in and give them the wi-fi for free, or they try to buy and own the whole thing. Dover's approach is very reasonable. Take a little from the state, a little from private enterprise, and give a little out of the tax rolls. So to review: Multiple revenue streams + multiple stakeholders = wi-fi success story.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for big news on our eCoast Wi-Fi Project ongoing in Portsmouth!

Addendum: This just in! Today's Portsmouth Herald: City expands free wireless Internet access.

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