This weekend attendees of the Roots n Blues n Barbeque Festival will have access to free public WiFi in many areas of downtown Columbia. Robert Simms is director of Information Technologies at the City of Columbia. He said he would love to offer WiFi year round but it is unlikely to happen in the near future. Simms said there are many factors consider.
“You got to have an access point about every 300 feet. They have to be up on the poles to get the largest thing. They have to have power and they all have to be connected to one another in some way typically by cooper or fiber,” Simms said.
Simms also said the city has to be careful not to wipe private companies like T2, iZone or other companies that provide internet services to coffee shops and restaurants downtown out of business. He said the city looked into the idea of having public WiFi about four or five years ago but determined it to be too costly.