Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wi-Fi Hotspots in Wisconsin

Link to jiwire wi-fi finder

Link to August 30 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "State has 1,300 Wi-Fi hotspots, with 62% offering free access".

Excerpt: More than half of Wisconsin's Wi-Fi hotspots are now free as consumers increasingly turn to coffee shops, restaurants and other businesses for an Internet connection.

Wisconsin has about 1,300 hotspots where the general public can get online with a wireless connection, according to Wired Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization that follows telecommunications issues.

About 800 of those, or 62%, are provided as a free service, compared with 55% nationally.

The number of free Wi-Fi locations has risen steadily. Nationwide, it's up 13% from the first three months of the year and represents the first time that a majority of the locations are free, according to a recent study

Last week I sent the following email to Thad Nation at Wireless Wisconsin:

Based on the statistics shared below, I found it disappointing that the August 24 Wired Wisconsin news release neglects to mention public libraries as providers of free wi-fi access.

From the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Channel Weekly, July 1, 2010:

The 2010 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study also finds that:

  • 67 percent of libraries report they are the only provider of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities;
  • Public computer and Wi-Fi use was up last year for more than 70 percent of all libraries;
  • 89 percent of libraries provide formal or informal technology training, including classes in computer skills, software use and online job-seeking;
  • 82 percent of libraries provide Wi-Fi access;  (And as Bob Bocher pointed out, 95% of Wisconsin public libraries provide Wi-Fi access.)
  • A majority of libraries offer Internet services ranging from subscription databases (95 percent) to online homework resources (88 percent) to ebooks (66 percent); and
  • 66 percent of libraries provide assistance to patrons completing government forms.  

The full report is found at 
http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/archives/digital-supplement/summer-2010-digital-supplement .

Thad's quick response.   Paul, your point is very valid. We were working with data released by Citi, which apparently did not factor libraries in. We will male sure to include libraries in our WI-FI descriptions going forward.

Thad followed up yesterday with a heads-up about the Journal-Sentinel article.  Just wanted to follow up with you from last week. Wanted to let you know that there should be an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tomorrow on the issue of free wi-fi spots. We made sure to pass along the library information that you provided.

I guess reporter Rick Barrett couldn't find a way to fit this information into his story.  'Libraries' did receive one mention:  in the 2nd paragraph after the heading 'Wi-Fi won't fly'.  Maybe he's working on a separate story that features libraries.

Related articles:
Coffee shop owners have second thoughts about wi-fi.  (8/8/2010)
No seat for you!  (8/3/2010)

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