Building Grand Island’s Wifi Network

Building Grand Island’s WiFi Network
A Recommendation Report from the Municipal Wireless Task Force
Prepared by Clara Carlos

In this report, the Municipal Wireless Task Force recommends implementing a citywide wireless network. The network should allow for low-cost, universal access within the city limits. Encouraging competition among broadband providers will be key to the success of this network.
Task Force Members
The following citizens, elected officials, and employees of Grand Island are responsible for this report:
Caid Larsen City Manager
Marla Laundre City Council, 4th Ward
Dwight Hanselm City Council, 3rd Ward
Eli Katzenberg Executive Director, Katz Computing Associates
Jack Keating President, Grand Island Board of Education
Tom Fuerstenberg Vice President, Porter Communications
Building a Network
Across the country, local governments are in the midst of establishing municipal wireless (or WiFi) networks, with the goal of providing free or inexpensive Internet access to all residents. Some studies suggest that by 2018, 95% of towns and cities will have established municipal WiFi networks.
After studying the issue extensively, we believe that a municipal WiFi network in Grand Island will improve worker productivity across the economic spectrum. We also believe such a network will help attract businesses with the promise of a technologically savvy worker force. Furthermore, an easy-to-access network will improve life generally for our citizens, by making the Internet available to all for minimal cost.
Low Cost
In order to be economically self-sustaining, the network must be widely adopted by all residents, regardless of income, and be available in every area of the city, including homes, offices, parks, and restaurants. To ensure this degree of access, a typical municipal WiFi network consists of a mesh of access points that allow continuous coverage throughout the city. (An access point is a radio transmitter that communicates...