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Wireless Internet Plan Moves Forward

For more information contact:

Sharyn Wisniewski, 267-8823
George Twigg, 266-4611
Scott Larrivee, 266-7362

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/10/2004

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
“Wireless Wisconsin” Would Provide Wireless Internet Access to Public

Madison – Public wireless Internet access took a major step forward today when a group of government and business leaders announced the “Wireless Wisconsin” initiative. The plan would initially create a publicly-accessible “wi-fi” (wireless fidelity) network covering several sites in the Madison area, with provisions for expansion to other Wisconsin communities in the future.

The Wireless Wisconsin network would be constructed and maintained by the successful bidder of an open RFP (Request For Proposal) process. The winning vendor will pay the county, city and state for the right to run the network. No taxpayer dollars will be used. Access to a range of local websites would be free, and access to full Internet services would be available for a fee on a daily, monthly or long-term basis.

“A healthy city is a connected city, and Wireless Wisconsin will enable city residents, workers and visitors to connect more easily,” said Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. “Bringing wireless Internet to downtown Madison is an idea I have been advocating since earlier this year, and it’s very exciting to see us taking concrete steps today towards making that idea a reality.”

“The Internet is today what the telephone was yesterday,” said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. “Wi-fi will allow people to move about our community for business, study or pleasure, and access the Internet. The county, city and state working together provides for a seamless wireless system that will provide great service at no cost to our taxpayers.”

Wireless Wisconsin would make connecting to the Internet easier than ever. Visitors to the city could log on to the Internet at the Dane County Regional Airport, and make use of that connection downtown at hotels, businesses and restaurants. Local residents could surf the web at local restaurants and coffee shops throughout the downtown area.

Downtown businesses and companies could use Wireless Wisconsin for their business Internet connection.

The Alliant Energy Center facilities and Monona Terrace would be added to the wi-fi system under the contract.

Another provision of Wireless Wisconsin would make wireless Internet access available for public safety communications (e.g., fire and police) in the downtown area, providing a new high-speed option for sharing and transmitting data in the area.

The RFP process calls for proposals to be received by January 10, with a final decision by January 24 and a projected startup in the spring. The RFP is available online at www.wisconsin.gov.

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