Citywide access to Wi-Fi in works

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – The days of patronizing certain food or coffee joints to tap a wireless Internet feed may soon be past, with citywide access on the horizon. Southern California Edison recently sought state regulators’ approval to let cities mount wireless antennas on the utility’s light poles. Cities seeking the service are relieved some action’s been taken, but complain about how long it took. “We’ve been prevailing on Edison for two years, and there are very few private industries that could have hung on that long for a decision to move forward on something,” said Ken Desforges, director of information systems for the city of Diamond Bar, which has been in the forefront of the push. After determining hookups were safe and wouldn’t disrupt service, Edison filed a plan on May 23 with the state Public Utilities Commission. The public comment period is under way and if no opposition is lodged, the tariff could be approved within 90 days. The wireless antennas contain small radios that mesh into a network that communicates with the Internet. Cities would be charged a rate for leasing space on the poles. If the plan is approved, anyone with a wireless-capable laptop or other Wi-Fi devices could surf the Web from city parks or other spots around town. Since Santa Clarita first explored Wi-Fi about 11/2 years ago the vendors’ business model – which included revenue from banner ads – has changed. The service might be free in parts of town, while in other areas a fee might be charged. Public access could be an option for people who can’t afford home-based cable Internet or high-speed lines such as DSL, because it might be offered free or at reduced cost. [email protected] (661) 257-5255 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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