http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/11/14/danville-now-offers-wireless-internet


DanvilleSanRamon.com

Newsfront - November 14, 2008

Danville now offers wireless Internet

Town Green outside library is popular spot to go online

by Geoff Gillette

Norman Rockwell didn't envision genteel families lounging on a town green surfing the Internet, but that pastoral scene is something you might see on a sunny afternoon in Danville.

In an effort to keep up with constantly expanding technological demands, the town has begun providing wireless Internet service at some public locations.

Danville Assistant Town Manager Marcia Somers said that feedback they've received from residents led to this expansion in wireless service.

"We have wireless in the library," she said, "and one of the things we were noticing was that people were hanging out close to the library in order to take advantage of it."

Somers said residents asked about wireless access outside the library on Front Street as well as at the community center next door. In most cases, it was working parents waiting outside those facilities for children attending classes and activities. In addition, some business customers at the town offices on La Gonda Way expressed interest in being able to access e-mail and Web accounts.

"What we did was expand the wireless area to encompass the whole Town Green and the community center," Somers explained. She added, "We did the same thing here at town hall so if people were doing business they could access their information while at the desk or at meetings in our conference room."

Those using the service need to be aware that they are tapping into an unsecured signal.

"It's an open access system so there's no encryption, so we warn people that they shouldn't be doing any sort of sensitive or personal things while online," Somers said.

Residents should also bring additional battery backups if they are going to be using the wireless at those locations for any length of time. Inside the library there are some study areas but Somers said generally the town is not providing any power.

So far there are no plans to expand the service areas any further. Somers said they are not ruling it out but have not begun any planning to add any other locations.

Initial cost of the expansion was around $15,000. The town pays the monthly fee for the Internet service and an additional $1,500 maintenance fee each year.

"We think it's worth it to provide the community with that sort of service," said Somers.

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