Ames, Iowa Makes First Muni Wi-Fi Effort

Add Ames, Iowa, to the list of communities taking their initial steps into the municipal wireless market. Ames’ City Council recently approved its city manager’s recommendation to implement free Wi-Fi hot spots at five existing city facilities, and to begin the RFP process for outside suppliers to deploy free Wi-Fi at up to 11 additional public sites. Stan Davis, Ames’ IS manager, says the city will do its own deployment at its five initial sites, four of which already have fiber infrastructure; when deployed, those sites also will act as resources for Ames’ public safety departments. The RFP will not specify preferred business models for the additional city facilities, primarily parks and public plazas; instead, it will ask bidders to recommend business models that the city can use as one of the selection criteria. Columbia Telecommunications Corp has provided strategic consulting services to the city as the first phase of the project.