Civic News

Newark city council will discuss a possible move towards municipal broadband

The talks began this past summer when the concept was proposed by a handful of citizens. Drop in on council Wednesday night (Oct. 7) from 5-7 p.m. and stick around for a presentation from 7-9 p.m.

We’ve been keeping up with a civic discussion that’s been going on deep within the chambers of Newark city council for the past few months: should the city adopt broadband as a public utility?
Council and its IT staff are currently gauging community support and analyzing the viability of implementing fiber infrastructure for public use before allocating $10,000 into further research.
So, this will take a while. But one thing is for certain — the city needs to do something.
After listening to advocates present their case to council during a few sessions, council IT manager (and former municipal broadband skeptic) Josh Bechbeuhl delved into a bit of research of his own, discovering the city and its municipal facilities operate on an antiquated mesh network supplemented by borrowed fiber from the University of Delaware (coincidentally, one of the options on the table right now is a possible partnership with the university).
“We do have a WiFi network. It is very, very slow and that is by design. It was never designed to handle active devices such as smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, laptop computers,” he told the council this past July. “It was designed to carry very, very tiny bits of information a few times a day and that’s it.”
A workshop is being held tonight (Oct. 7) from 5-9 p.m. at the Church of the Nazarene (357 Paper Mill Rd.). The formal presentation (complete with slides!) will be held from 7-9 p.m.

Companies: University of Delaware

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