Brook Park tech committee explores public Wi-Fi for municipal campus

BROOK PARK, Ohio — The Brook Park Technology and Innovation Committee hopes city officials will decide to establish public access to Wi-Fi on Brook Park’s municipal campus and park.

Committee member James Presley recently shared information with City Council indicating that 22.5 percent of Brook Park households do not have internet access — one of the highest percentages among municipalities in the area.

“Research suggests well-designed urban spaces can really benefit from public access to Wi-Fi,” Presley said. “We’re hoping to bridge the digital divide by creating public access for the residents and creating a space to attract new people to the community.”

The goal is to “provide maximum coverage, minimize cost and explore cost savings via seasonal access,” he said. Sponsorship opportunities also could help to offset the cost.

Limited coverage through a partnership with the Cuyahoga County Public Library — the Brook Park Branch sits on the campus — would be in effect for five years and have a combined total setup and equipment cost of $30,000, or $6,000 per year. Presley called it “the walk-before-you-run option.”

Full Wi-Fi coverage through another library partnership option would cost $71,000 over a five-year contract. The yearly cost would be $14,200.

The third option would enable the city to own and maintain the equipment through a partnership with cable and internet service provider WOW!. Full coverage under a three-year agreement would cost $47,000, or $15,550 per year. In addition, an ongoing cost per month would be $675 for 100 Mbps (upload/download speed) or $1,184 for 500 Mbps.

“The intriguing thing about the library option is that it’s kind of a set-it-and-forget-it option … where we know it will always work and we don’t have to worry about service,” Presley told council. “WOW! has the most cost upfront, but it can be offset the most with sponsorships and partnerships.”

City Council discussions are slated to continue at the June 8 council caucus.

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