By Gary Nelson
The Cumberland County Building and Grounds Committee voted to recommend allowing a local internet service provider to install free wi-fi connectivity in the courthouse for a one-year period at no cost to the county.
The recommendation will be made to the county commission for its approval.
The committee heard from Scott Hale, area manager for Frontier Communications during its meeting Tuesday night.
"This would be put in for free public use and we would install modems on each floor of the courthouse. All I would ask is to place a small sticker on the doors saying wi-fi provided by Frontier Communications," Hale said.
Hale explained it would be a stand alone system and would not connect with any of the county's computer systems in the building.
"It would save you about $900 and provide advertising for me. We'd be offering free bandwidth and if there were any problems or complaints we will take care of it," Hale said.
"Would there be a password?" Carmin Lynch, 9th District commissioner, asked.
"It would be open and be named something like courthouse wi-fi. Anybody in the courthouse would be able to connect to it and surf the Internet for free," Hale said.
Hale said they would need to do a site survey on the courthouse building and test the system out for a week or two before opening it up to the public.
"I'll give you an example of the sticker so you can see what it will look like," Hale said. "I feel like it's a win, win situation."
Hale said the system would be comparable to what the city offers.
Dave Hassler, 3rd District commissioner, moved to allow the service and recommend it to the county commission. Lynch supported the motion and it was unanimously approved.
Larry Allen, 6th District commissioner, asked if it was OK, or legal, to accept the offer without considering others.
Nathan Brock, Cumberland County finance director, said there wouldn't be an issue because no others had approached the county.
"If you're going to open it up again after one year, then there shouldn't be any problem because that would allow anyone else an opportunity to express interest at that time," Brock said.
The idea was brought up during the last county commission meeting after county attorney Randal Boston expressed frustrations of not being able to get on the Internet inside the courthouse and show commissioners a map of property that was being discussed during the meeting.
Eighth District Commissioner Jeff Brown said he knew an Internet service provider who would install a free system for free wi-fi for the county and the county commission recommended the building and grounds committee to discuss the matter.
The full county commission will review the matter and will have to approve the system and agreement before it can be installed.