In 2016 the City of Seattle commissioned a report to identify areas where publicly-accessible Wi-Fi can have a meaningful impact in Seattle and to identify potential funding sources, business models, and partners to expand the availability of public Wi-Fi services, especially as a means to address Seattle’s digital equity and digital inclusion needs.
As part of this work, the City also released a Request For Information (RFI) to gather information and ideas from service providers and other vendors.
The resulting study, completed in February 2017, has indicated that there is a great deal of interest in accessing City fiber, real estate, right-of-way, and other assets for the purposes of providing Wi-Fi but that the City needs to determine the appropriate value of these assets.
The study also found that there are opportunities for increasing public Wi-Fi at low or no cost to the City through models that are supported by advertising and other revenue-generating models, but that the City needs to examine the public policy implications of these models and engage the community to determine how these approaches would work in Seattle.
The work to determine the areas of greatest impact in Seattle and the most appropriate and effective business models will continue throughout 2017.
Read the Wi-Fi report here [PDF; 3 MB]