Archive for Thursday, August 28, 2003

Wireless Internet provider approved

August 28, 2003

Two De Soto men are promising to provide the city with high-speed wireless Internet service after receiving the City Council's blessing to put an antenna on the Waverly water tower.
In pitching the proposal to the Council last Thursday, John Gorkos said the wireless system would provide service to areas north and south of Kansas Highway 10.
High-speed Internet service in De Soto is currently limited to those with access to cable television. The city's cable provider, Time Warner, has been reluctant to extend lines to those areas of town without enough rooftops to recoup costs.
In return for tower space, Gorkos said he and his partner, Ken Rhudy, would provide the city free service.
He and Rhudy looked at the proposal as more a service to the community than a money-making proposition, Gorkos said. The partners would have to sign up about 20 customers to make it work, he said.
Some time in the future, the partners would like to have a downtown location. But to save during start up, the business would be run out of his basement, Gorkos said. Still, he promised full response to service emergencies.
Rates would be about 40 percent less than the competition, Gorkos said. That would be about $35 a month for residential service, while business rates would depend on the bandwidth required, he said. He also anticipated a $5-a-month discount for senior citizens.
The wireless option would provide service to Commerce Park, one of the areas currently without cable access. That would be a boon to the city's economic development efforts, as would greater access overall, said Sara Ritter, director of the De Soto Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council.
"The Chamber does receive calls on a consistent basis asking if we have high-speed Internet access," she said.
The system would also compliment De Soto USD 232's wireless computer initiative, Gorgos said. That prospect was welcomed by district technology staffers, he said.
Councilwoman Linda Zindler wondered whether the proposal offered the city a good deal. Space on the crowded tower leased for at least $500 a month, and the service Gorkos was promising would only relieve the city of a $328 monthly bill.
In response, City Attorney Patrick Reavey said the two De Soto men would provide better service because it could connect to all five city buildings. Cost of running cable to all city sites was prohibitive, he said.
The city's Internet connection would be thoroughly secure with its own server, Gorkos said.
The program should be ready for its first customers in about six weeks, Gorkos said.

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