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City will stop operating Seattle WiFi on April 29th

Posted: April 16, 2012 2:51 am
By: - Citizen Advisors, Community Technology, News, Seattle Communities Online  

The SeattleWiFi free community wireless service will be discontinued on April 29, 2012. For the past couple weeks a notice has been provided when users log on to the system. The pilot project has been serving the University District, Columbia City and four downtown parks (Steinbrueck, Occidental, Freeway, and Westlake) since 2005. The service, provided in collaboration with the UW and neighborhood chambers of commerce, has been well-used and especially in Columbia City, helped contribute to the areas’ revitalization. The City would encourage other providers or sponsors to consider supporting free Wi-Fi service in these areas and other neighborhood business districts.

This decision was made with several considerations:
- The existing equipment has passed its end-of-life and can no longer be maintained effectively.
- The cost to buy and install new commercial-grade equipment and to support continuing Wi-Fi service and support are high at a time when the economy has forced the city to make budget cuts.
- An increasing number of people have Internet access with their mobile cell plans (“smartphones “), and there is greater availability of Wi-Fi in neighborhood cafes and businesses that provide alternatives to a City-managed Wi-Fi program.

Free Wi-Fi will continue to be provided at libraries, City Hall, and Seattle Center. The City is also continuing to provide free use of public computers at Neighborhood Service Centers, libraries, and selected community centers, in addition to the community access and training provided through our Technology Matching Fund grant partners.

The City can provide a list of assets used for our Wi-Fi project, referrals to community partners for potential providers, and a list of assets used for our Wi-Fi project. Please contact communitytechnology@seattle.gov or leave a message on our Wi-Fi Infoline at 684-8070 for more information.

The City would like to thank the Rainier Chamber of Commerce, Columbia City Business Association, University District Chamber of Commerce, University of Washington, Homesight, Atlantic Street Center and the residents that participated in the program. We were glad to be able to provide the service for longer than our initial five year pilot program.