Daily Archives: June 1, 2007

Baby steps toward citywide wireless Internet

A little more than three weeks ago, City Council members decided not to start negotiating a deal with Michigan-based wireless Internet company Azulstar for citywide wireless service. Instead, the Council appointed members Paul Gray and Jeff Longwell to travel to a couple cities that already have an Azulstar wireless system to see how well it performs firsthand. But that’s not happening yet, either.

Longwell says that the two cities he and Gray were going to visit — Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Rio Rancho, New Mexico — aren’t fully functional. City officials in Rio Rancho have vented frustrations about Azulstar’s service and failure to meet contractual obligations. Meanwhile, Winston-Salem’s system has yet to be built. Longwell said setbacks in these cities further justify the Council’s cautious approach. “I don’t think we’re doing a disservice to the public by dragging our feet a little bit,” he said in a conversation with The Hall Monitor this week. Longwell hopes to see how Azulstar reacts to the complaints they’re facing before moving ahead with contract talk. Futhermore, he says, the city may benefit by waiting as new technologies surface. You can’t wait forever because there will always be something new, he said, but in this case a slow approach may be best. “There’s no reason for us to get too excited,” he said. “It’s not like anybody is dramatically ahead of us.” Longwell said the issue will likely be discussed at the June 12 Council meeting.

For more on Rio Rancho’s problems, see this story.
For an update on Winston-Salem, check this one out.
For an overview of problems cities are having with wireless Internet, check out this AP story.