26 September 2006
From the Department of Major Upgrades (2a)
Last fall I mentioned that Oklahoma City was looking for private-sector partners to create a Wi-Fi hot zone in the central city, stretching roughly from the Oklahoma Health Center to the Reno/Meridian corridor.
So far, not a lot has happened, and for pretty much the obvious reasons:
Roy Williams, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, said chamber officials are reviewing proposals submitted by several national wireless providers.
"We want someone who is in that business and understands that industry to tell us whether it is economically viable," Williams said. "The reason you don't see this everywhere is that it's still evolving. There are multiple ways to approach it. That's why we're anxious to see these business models."
After MAPS, you might think we'd have gotten over our "Let's Avoid Risk!" stance. Apparently not entirely, not yet. Williams, though, says he expects a decision by the end of the year.
Inasmuch as the city is building a wireless network to cover the entirety of the 620-square-mile corporate limits for emergency purposes only, they tell us I'm thinking they ought to figure out some way to offer free public access to that network at a lowish speed, and sell access at higher speeds, either through city utility billing or a third party to be named later. If the Chamber is wise, it will start looking for such a third party.