The City of Santa Monica has begun to install free wireless Internet services for the public at City sites.
The first City site to have WI-FI was the recently expanded Virginia Avenue Park. The service is also available at all City libraries, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, the Santa Monica Pier, the Third Street Promenade from Broadway to Wilshire Boulevard, the City Hall lobby, courtyard and in the City Council Chambers.
Jory Wolf, the City’s Chief Information Officer, told the Mirror you don’t have to be a resident to use the free WI-FI. It’s “simple to use.” All one needs is a laptop computer, personal data assistant (PDA) or smart phone equipped with a standard 802.11b or 802.11g wireless device.
The City WI-FI program is a “pilot program” according to Wolf and is “being evaluated.” Thus far there have been about “750 users per day.”
A citywide WI-FI program is also being considered which would “compete with DSL and cable” Internet providers. Such a program would provide Internet access at slower speeds for free and at other speeds at reduced rates without impacting the City’s budget.
Currently, the City is working on bringing WI-FI to Euclid Park. Other sites that will be worked on in the future are the Ken Edwards Center, Christine Reed Park and Bergamot Station. Eventually it will be installed in all new City open spaces. Wolf also mentioned one to two City sites a month are getting WI-FI access.