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City wi-fi hope loses its signal

By Heather Warlick Published: April 20, 2008
ut that concept of free wi-fi has just gone away.”

"In terms of it being accessible by the public, it's just not practical anymore,” said Roy Williams, chief executive of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. Since so many businesses have implemented wireless technology, he said, nearly every place with an actual demand for wireless Internet now has it.

"People don't walk down the street with their laptop. They sit down somewhere. They're either at the convention center, a restaurant, a bar, a coffee shop,” he said.

Cornett said cities are reluctant to put money into an evolving industry.

"We're good at putting capital money into something we think is going to be there for a long time, like the Ford Center or a convention center or streets. But when you start getting into this type of technology, cities are reluctant to put something in there that may be out of date in two years. That's probably why the private sector is reluctant too,” he said.

While smaller cities, like Ponca City, are planning wireless grids for public use, both Cornett and Williams agree that the conversation of free public wireless Internet in Oklahoma City is one that has most likely been put on a back burner.