Proposal Would Put Public WiFi All Over Newport's Business District
Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso was talking recently with a visitor who complimented the city's Monmouth Street.
"He said, we love Monmouth Street. It's the coolest place," the mayor recounted, "but you need WiFi. Just think, if you could get it you'd have all kinds of people here.
"So this is great timing."
Peluso was speaking of a presentation by Nexigen's Jon Salisbury and Russ Middleton about a proposal that could place high speed internet access available to the public all around Newport's downtown area. Salisbury said that Nexigen had heard from Newport Independent Schools Superintendent Kelly Middleton about difficulties students face in having access to the internet after school hours. While all students in the district have their own iPad, many can't access necessary information because there is no internet or data plan available at home.
So, there have been a dozen or so meetings with Cincinnati Bell and 20 people representing Newport interests about a WiFi network that could span much of Newport, "and does so in a way that costs the city a very low amount of capital, if any at all," Salisbury said.
Instead of the usual method of Cincinnati Bell charging a municipality to place access points in the city, Salisbury and his team have suggested that businesses would unite and sign up for services equal to what they are paying now and then Cincinnati Bell would provide the public service at no cost to the city.
The benefits, Salisbury said, would be that kids would have access to high speed internet, new businesses would be interested in Newport because of the WiFi network, and existing businesses would get a new marketing channel because if a the public WiFi is being used near a business, an advertisement for that business would be displayed.
Before the Newport City Commission, which heard the proposal at Monday night's caucus meeting, could approve a plan, Salisbury said members of his team would be meeting with local business owners to fill them in on details.