OSWEGO, NY – Mayor Billy Barlow presented his proposal to implement free public Wi-Fi throughout downtown Oswego to the Administrative Services Committee. The response from the councilors and others was positive.
The Port City needs internet access downtown to make it more attractive to residents and visitors, he explained.
This goes hand in hand with the city’s downtown revitalization plans, he pointed out.
“Actually, in that application, having free public access to the internet is worth points on the application,” the mayor said. “Unfortunately we missed out on those points on the application. But we were thinking why not be proactive.”
“In an effort to enhance our downtown, modernize our community and to attract working class families to our downtown and spend money downtown … I think it’s important to have free public access to Wi-Fi downtown,” Barlow told the committee.
Free Wi-Fi will attract more people downtown, and they stay longer to socialize and congregate, he said, adding that he wasn’t talking about just restaurants and coffee shops – but everywhere downtown.
The city will no longer have to rely on using cable in places like the marina, he said, which will save the city funds in the long-run. Wi-Fi was recently added there.
They will establish the boundaries for the hot spots.
The city will purchase three portals and put them around downtown, in the shape of a triangle, the mayor explained.
“It will cover the area we want to serve,” he said. “So, we need about three of those. They are $3,170 each. I propose buying four so we have one backup in case something happens. The server will cost $2,486. It’s in the budget so we’re not going to need new funds. We’re also saving money, changing from cable to Wi-Fi.”
It’s a one-time fee, the mayor said of the hardware.
The price tag to maintain the system will be $2,500 a month, the mayor said.
People who live in downtown would have the ability to jump on and use the services, he added.
“There’s nothing stopping them. But obviously we prefer they don’t hop on,” he said.
If many people get on all at once, during Harborfest, for instance, it could slow down the service. However, the mayor believes the system will be sufficient to handle the heavy traffic.