Dane Co. Exec Falk: Wireless Internet Plan Moves Forward “Wireless Wisconsin” Would Provide Wireless Internet Access to Public

George Twigg, 608-266-4611 (Mayor Cieslewicz)
Sharyn Wisniewski, 608-267-8823 (County Executive Falk)
Scott Larrivee, 608-266-7362 (Wisconsin Department of Administration)

Madison – Public wireless Internet access took a major step forward today
when a group of government and business leaders announced the “Wireless
Wisconsin” initiative. The plan would initially create a publicly-accessible
“wi-fi” (wireless fidelity) network covering several sites in the Madison
area, with provisions for expansion to other Wisconsin communities in the

The Wireless Wisconsin network would be constructed and maintained by the
successful bidder of an open RFP (Request For Proposal) process. The winning
vendor will pay the county, city and state for the right to run the network.
No taxpayer dollars will be used. Access to a range of local websites would
be free, and access to full Internet services would be available for a fee
on a daily, monthly or long-term basis.

“A healthy city is a connected city, and Wireless Wisconsin will enable city
residents, workers and visitors to connect more easily,” said Madison Mayor
Dave Cieslewicz. “Bringing wireless Internet to downtown Madison is an idea
I have been advocating since earlier this year, and it’s very exciting to
see us taking concrete steps today towards making that idea a reality.”

“The Internet is today what the telephone was yesterday,” said Dane County
Executive Kathleen Falk. “Wi-fi will allow people to move about our
community for business, study or pleasure, and access the Internet. The
county, city and state working together provides for a seamless wireless
system that will provide great service at no cost to our taxpayers.”

Wireless Wisconsin would make connecting to the Internet easier than ever.
Visitors to the city could log on to the Internet at the Dane County
Regional Airport, and make use of that connection downtown at hotels,
businesses and restaurants. Local residents could surf the web at local
restaurants and coffee shops throughout the downtown area.

Downtown businesses and companies could use Wireless Wisconsin for their
business Internet connection.

The Alliant Energy Center facilities and Monona Terrace would be added to
the wi-fi system under the contract.

Another provision of Wireless Wisconsin would make wireless Internet access
available for public safety communications (e.g., fire and police) in the
downtown area, providing a new high-speed option for sharing and
transmitting data in the area.

The RFP process calls for proposals to be received by January 10, with a
final decision by January 24 and a projected startup in the spring. The RFP
is available online at www.wisconsin.gov .