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Interest Strong in Local Wireless Internet Proposal

For more information contact:

George Twigg, 608-266-4611 (Mayor Cieslewicz)
Lesley Sillaman, 608-267-8823 (County Executive Falk)
Scott Larrivee, 608-266-7362 (Wisconsin Department of Administration)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1/24/2005

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

Madison – The creation of “Wireless Wisconsin”, a public wireless Internet service, took another step forward today, as potential vendors submitted their proposals. Interest in providing the service was strong, with proposals submitted from SkyCable/AOL, SBC and InSite Wireless.

The proposals will now be evaluated by the City of Madison, Dane County and the State Department of Administration on a number of competitive criteria. A contract with the successful bidder is expected to be in place by March, with the service up and running later this year.

“Today, Madison is one step closer to having a cutting-edge wireless Internet service available to everyone,” said Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. “The ‘Wireless Wisconsin’ service will not only make it more convenient than ever to access the Internet, it will also play an important role in our economic development strategy.”

“Our county set out to provide ‘wi-fi’ service at the Dane County Regional Airport to give travelers the opportunity to have this excellent service from the minute they land in our county,” said Falk. “We are proud that this partnership accomplishes that, and will help travelers and residents stay connected as they are in our area.”

“Wireless Wisconsin” will 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. In fact, 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.

Wireless Wisconsin would make connecting to the Internet easier than ever. For many visitors to the area 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.

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.

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