City agrees to look for Wi-Fi proposals |

City agrees to look for Wi-Fi proposals

Susan Wood

The South Lake Tahoe City Council gave a thumbs up Tuesday to high speed wireless technology with a unanimous vote to solicit proposals for a plan of action.

An idea in the works for years, the city has long wanted to fill those gaps, so that the frequent and common wireless computer users demanding high speed access will have a place, or city, to go as they use those devices for work or play.

Wireless technology most commonly used through laptop computers is associated with but not limited to high-speed broadband and DSL access – which is spotty in certain areas of town.

City Economic Development Coordinator Camden Collins, who’s handling the inquiry, saw the decision as a first step of a long road. The city will now put out a request for proposal among purveyors that can address the equipment and labor costs. The city will need to negotiate whether to use a turn-key system the city pays for or partner with a company to build, own and operate the system.

“They’re two different business models. That’s why we’re doing this. We need to get more information,” she said.

Collins said it’s too soon to predict the cost of such a venture until proposals come in, despite one estimate of $500,000 a Reno telecom company provided for the city in exploring the capability.

Councilwoman Kathay Lovell called the step “a great opportunity for locals and visitors.”

“I think we’ll get a fair amount of interest. These companies will want to sell ads on the portals,” she said.

Whatever the system, it will meet a growing demand in the business community, South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Duane Wallace contends.

“It’s worth studying,” he said. “Our society has more computer commuters. Many people (who visit Tahoe) are not leaving their work at home. We need to fulfill that need,” Wallace said.

In other action, the City Council voted unanimously to direct City Manager Dave Jinkens to draft a letter to form an association of regional Lake Tahoe-area governments.

The panel also decided with a 5-0 vote to replace its noise-monitoring system at the Lake Tahoe Airport.

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