10 Dec Madison asks for wireless bids; airport, downtown would be first
Madison, Wis. — The city of Madison is asking for bids on the construction of downtown wireless Internet access points, officials said on Friday.
The vendor would be able to charge user fees and would take on the cost of building the network, including fees to the city, county and state for the right to operate. The project would not be paid for with taxes. However, mayoral spokesperson George Twigg said plans and costs are still not finalized.
Now, though, the city is planning on a tiered cost structure in which a selection of local sites could be reached freely, while full internet access would cost a fee.
Wireless access could come to downtown Madison and the Dane County Regional Airport by spring, with the airport being first on the list. Other sites would include the Alliant Energy Center and the Monona Terrace.
- The University of Wisconsin-Madison plans to extend wireless access to the entire campus. Read more.
Though a list of potential vendors is not yet known, SBC Wisconsin, through SBC’s FreedomLink program, will be one of those trying for the contract, spokesperson Howard Riefs said.
“We currently have more than 5,000 hotspots nationwide, including 78 across Wisconsin at McDonald’s, Barnes and Noble, The UPS Store and Caribou Coffee locations,” he said.
The deadline for proposals (PDF) is January 10. Officials plan to decide on a vendor by January 24 and flip the switch in spring.
“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,” Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said.
Jason Stitt is WTN’s associate editor and can be reached at email@example.com.