Santa Fe City Council approves free Wi-Fi hot spots | Coronavirus

Free Wi-Fi will quickly be out there at a number of places throughout Santa Fe regardless of reservations in regards to the undertaking from some metropolis councilors who ended up voting for it anyway.

After a virtually 1 half hour dialogue Wednesday, Mayor Alan Webber and the Metropolis Council unanimously accredited a memorandum of understanding with Santa Fe Public Faculties for the town to put in Wi-Fi sizzling spots at a number of faculty campuses. The free Wi-Fi on faculty grounds is primarily meant for college students who’ve switched to on-line studying within the midst of the coronavirus pandemic however who’ve restricted or no web entry.

Although not a part of the settlement with the college district, the town additionally plans to put in Wi-Fi sizzling spots at a number of city-owned buildings that can be out there for the general public to log into, too.

“Together with city-owned websites, the chosen faculty places will enable for extra areas of the town to have hotspots close to at hand,” Sean Moody, the town’s telecommunications architect, wrote in a memo to the council.

Some metropolis councilors, together with Michael Garcia, JoAnne Vigil Coppler and Renee Villarreal, pushed for a “timeline” to take away the infrastructure, which is simply meant to be short-term. Regardless of their jockeying, the total council in the end accredited the settlement as initially offered.

“The pandemic is our timeline,” Wealthy Brown, the town’s financial improvement director, instructed the governing physique. “We do not know when that is going to finish.”

The undertaking, which is able to price an estimated $90,000, has raised suspicions that it’s going to result in the set up of 5G cellphone know-how, which nonetheless would not exist in Santa Fe. However metropolis and college officers emphasised that the new spots are unrelated to 5G.

“That is nonetheless aspirational for Santa Fe,” Moody mentioned in a phone interview earlier than Wednesday’s digital council assembly. “Not one of the suppliers have it right here. Definitely, it isn’t a part of our undertaking in any way. Our undertaking would not use it, and it would not make it.”

Councilor Signe Lindell mentioned the council acquired quite a few emails in regards to the undertaking from involved residents, a few of which left her “dumbfounded.”

“There was one factor that stood out in these emails that I am compelled to say out loud, and that is the variety of those who mentioned in emails that they did not consider there have been individuals on this city that do not have web entry,” she mentioned. “I used to be shocked by that. It tells me that there is some people who do not know how a lot a few of our fellow residents are struggling.”

Tom Ryan, the college district’s chief info and technique officer, mentioned the free Wi-Fi on faculty campuses is designed to assist college students “get to their academic assets” in addition to entry basic details about what’s occurring on the planet.

“We’ve got about 550 youngsters that mentioned that they want web entry,” Ryan mentioned. “We even have lecturers, a few of which their partner has misplaced their job because of the closing of companies, etcetera, that may’t afford or can now not afford web.”

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