City’s Wi-Fi project a good beginning
The city is kicking off its free wireless Internet access service in Chinatown.
Computer geeks, techie devotees, business people and others who cannot live without constant connectivity will be pleased to have at least part of downtown Honolulu humming with wireless Internet service.
The city's Wi-Fi pilot project, which is being tested in Chinatown, could be an economic boon for the district, which is what Mayor Mufi Hannemann hopes. If it can be expanded to cover a wider zone, businesses and people who work in the urban hub will surely benefit from the service.
Since the service isn't costing taxpayers -- the eternal hurdle for any city project -- and doesn't intrude on private providers, there should be no reason for downtown not to be fully wired.
Using the technology to improve the city's operations by equipping emergency workers with Wi-Fi access makes good sense if it will speed response. Providing other government workers with the tools they need to do business away from their cubicles also could help streamline functions.
Officials concede that the connection might not be the fastest, but say it will be secure. Still, security depends on individual users' initiative, so people should safeguard their applications.
Partnering with Tri-Net Solutions, the city has seen businesses like boutiques, office suppliers and arts enterprises volunteer to install small devices -- 25 so far -- that link wirelessly to Tri-Net's Internet service. Tri-Net might try to recover its costs through Web site advertising, but for the time being, the company is experimenting, as is the city.
The project is a fine example of providing the community an advantage without a major financial outlay.
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