FINDLAY, Ohio -- Mayor Anthony P. Irito's office is now out with a ''request for proposals" seeking a citywide wireless broadband network operator to cover all 17.2 squares miles of the town, including about 2,500 businesses and 11,200 households. Findlay is a city of 40,300 residents in Northwest Ohio's rural Hancock County. The city sees going wireless as a necessary economic competitiveness tool.
''To realize its mission, the City of Findlay, Ohio, hereby solicits proposals for a Municipal Broadband Wireless Network and ISP [Internet service provider] Partner," says the mayor's request for proposals. "The city's intention is to implement a new citywide, wireless broadband communications model. This model has as its goal a public-private partnership, combining to build a local community network of broadband infrastructure. This model shall enable local ISPs, network carriers, and local government to consolidate efforts in the Findlay market, and to develop public-private partnerships toward long-term sustainability for economic development."
The complete set of bid specifications are available HERE. Many of Ohio's college campuses are already wireless, and some cities apparently are moving in the same direction as Findlay. The mayor of Dublin, Ohio -- an upscale suburb of Columbus -- said this in a CISCO press release last fall about her city's wireless efforts:
"This municipal wireless deployment will allow residents, businesses and city employees of Dublin to have mobile access to the Internet," said Dublin Mayor Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher. "Our primary goals of this outdoor Wi-Fi network are to enhance public safety and improve the city's operational efficiencies while also encouraging and creating growth opportunities for locally owned companies and residents."
The full text of the press release is HERE. And there is an ongoing program around Cleveland described in detail HERE
Gov. Ted Strickland said during his campaign that he wants to expand broadband (high-speed) Internet service across the state, especially to rural Ohio. But Findlay looks to be thinking beyond and over the horizon.
"Without affordable broadband access, the growth of existing businesses and the ability to attract new businesses to the City is restricted. The future prosperity of the community is challenged by the cost structure of data and video communications and its availability," the bid specs say. ''Any solution proffered mus provide high-quality, ubiquitous, low cost, reliable service available within the corporation limits of the City of Findlay. The solution must address the varied needs of civic organizations, businesses, schools large and small, non-profits, government and residential customers. It is critical that the solution offer public-access hot spots."