LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Frank Wiczkowski, the president of MAW Communications says progress is “rolling along” when it comes to giving folks in Lancaster access to Wi-Fi.
“We started the process three months ago and we’re moving right on track,” he told ABC 27 News on Thursday. “In fact, in some respects ahead of schedule.”
MAW Communications is working with Lancaster City officials to expand Wi-Fi access in the city.
The first step was installing a hot spot in Binns Park, which is currently up and running. Now crews are installing the backbone of the system, which includes running more than 21-thousand feet of fiber-optic cable around the city.
“In some respects it’s a utility,” Wiczkowski, said. “That’s why we’re providing free Wi-Fi services in the parks. We’re eventually going to be offering to students and under privileged people that we’re going to manage through the school district.”
When complete, by the end of 2016, Lancaster would be the first city in Pennsylvania to offer free public internet access.
There is a small spot in Gettysburg where folks can access a similar service, and there are talks to expand that, but Wiczkowski said Lancaster remains ahead of the game.
“The administration here and everyone here, the public, the county, everyone is behind this project and they see the vision,” he said.
The city had to invest half of a million dollars.
The system will also allow the city to read water meters remotely and help the police department with internet in the streets.
“It’s a win-win on our side,” Charlotte Katzenmoyer, the director of public works in Lancaster, said. “Plus, we’re able to subsidize or lower the cost to residents and businesses for the internet service that we’re all going to need in the future for more and more applications.”
ABC 27 News reached out to a couple of other cities in the midstate to see if they had any plans to offer free public Wi-Fi. Officials from Harrisburg were the only one to return calls and they said there is no plan to offer free public Wi-Fi.