By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — City officials are considering providing public WiFi in Mead View and Veterans Parks.
While not yet approved, the goal is to provide access to internet for all residents in the area. WiFi would be provided by Solarus, and would be free for Solarus ‘Media Shower’ customers.
Negotiations are still underway for terms and conditions of use, however, there would be a nominal fee for those unsubscribed to Solarus. As it stands, non-Solarus customers will have 30 minutes of free access per week, but will be charged $2.99 per day, otherwise. A week’s usage would be up to $7.99, with up to 20 days worth of use at a rate of $29.99.
This implementation of WiFi availability would be on a 12-month trial basis, as the city seeks to find out the popularity and demand of such a service to begin with. If approved, launch for WiFi access would be by the city’s annual ‘Lunch by the River’ season.
“Because it’s a new service, we don’t understand the demand or the need for it,” said Mayor Zach Vruwink. “It’s a trend for municipalities to make this service available to these places.”
While no action has been taken, officials are hopeful for an agreement to be sent to council next week. There is current discussion over tweaking some of the terms and conditions and if it’s proper to charge non-Solarus customers beyond a 30-minute window, and if so, how much.
“It’s promoting a product and a service on city property — there should be recognition for that,” said Vruwink. “We want to ask if there’s something more gracious than 30 minutes per week.”