A growing number of local municipalities are finding ways to offer fee Wi-Fi. Vidalia is the latest according to a recent Miami Herald article. Community leaders hope to launch the new service by the spring of 2014.
Vidalia, home to 4,300 residents, originally planned to use funds from a 2010 Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant to build a fiber network. Unfortunately the grant was revoked from Louisiana when Governor Jindal expressed intentions to use the funds in a manner that violated the terms of the grant.
The City owns and operates its own electric utility, a significant advantage for any community that seeks to provide Wi-Fi or fiber telecommunications services. Rather than abandon the plan, the city sought funding elsewhere. From the article:
The Telecommunications Development Fund Foundation awarded the city a $30,000 grant, announced last week, to deploy a wireless network. The foundation was founded in 2008 with the mission of bringing communications technology and opportunities to areas underserved by Internet providers.
For more on the Vidalia project, including local media coverage, visit the complete story on MuniNetworks.org.