Free WiFi in Fayetteville?

Last Wednesday, mayor Lioneld Jordan’s Facebook status was the following: Lioneld Jordan is thinking about expanded broadband and free wifi…

The status created quite a buzz on Facebook. 41 people “liked” the status, and 17 people commented on it. On Wednesday, Jordan met with a group called Connect Arkansas who’s mission is to “create a competitive broadband, or high speed internet infrastructure that will not only improve personal lives, but also the economic capabilities and of all Arkansans,” and Jordan is hoping Fayetteville citizens will endorse the initiative to make free WiFi for all of Fayetteville a reality.

Free WiFi for Fayetteville is one of the items up for discussion as part of the upcoming Fayetteville Forward Summit, taking place March 31st – April 4th.

Jordan commented on Facebook, “I will be meeting with Connect Arkansas this afternoon, and it will be one of the options discussed at the upcoming Fayetteville Forward summit. I hope it will be endorsed by our citizens and incorporated into our economic development strategy, because it will help all of our people be better informed for civic and personal life.”

“We could start pilot projects for free wifi around the square and in city parks, but those ideas will depend on public support and the interest of the City council, too.”

We’ll have more on the Flyer on the Fayetteville Forward Summit over the next few weeks, but for now, we’re curious to know how Flyer readers feel about the free Wi-Fi talk. Other cities around the country are adopting similar initiatives, and (of course) we’re all for it.

I mean, imagine visiting the Farmer’s market in the downtown square and being able to sit out in front of the Town Center with a cup of coffee and a laptop to check email, update your Facebook status, and totally pwning some fool in the comments section on the Flyer all at the same time? How about on a blanket in Wilson Park on a warm spring day? Those are of course some of the positives.

What do you guys think? Is this a good way to spend our taxpayer dollars? Bad idea? Is Fayetteville ready for something like this? How could it be achieved? Would you start with the square and work your way out? Who would benefit the most from free WiFi? Could it help our downtown businesses?

It’s interesting to see all the questions that can come out of a simple Facebook status update from our mayor. Can Lioneld make this happen?

[Photo by superfem via Flickr and Creative Commons 2.0]