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WiFi access coming to New London parks

Committee reviews user policies

By Robert Cloud

The Parks and Recreation Committee approved a resolution in favor of policies for WiFi access in New London’s parks.

Ginger Sowle, the Parks and Rec director, provided policy guidelines to the committee at its June 6 meeting.

The goal is to offer high-speed, open-air internet connections at the city’s parks.

Anybody with a laptop, smart phone, tablet or other mobile device with a browser and wireless adapter would be able to connect to the internet.

She also provided a breakdown of costs for making individual parks WiFi accessible.

According to figures from Keith Gowdy with PC Cell Solutions, the cost for offering WiFi access in Memorial Park would be $350 for labor and an access point, Sowle said.

“We already have everything else that we need to connect to ion Memorial Park,” Sowle said.

Regarding the city’s other parks, Sowle said Gowdy was less certain about the estimates because he did not know how long each project would take.

“Don’t quote me on the quotes,” she said.

In a memo to the committee, Sowle said the estimated cost would be $510 per park, plus additional costs.

Pfeifer Park would cost an additional $615 for a virtual local area network that provides two access point and programming for the city’s existing switches.

Hatten Park will need WiFi bridges between the stadium and the two pavilions, with a total of four access points. The estimated cost for Hatten is $1,485.

“Hatten is going to be a big project,” Sowle said. “We’re not ready for that.”

Because expenditures for the WiFi system will be paid from the city’s 2023 operating budget, the Finance Committee will not need to approve capital funding for the project.

WiFi policies

Sowle prepared WiFi policy guidelines for the committee’s approval.

Use of this public municipal WiFi network ”constitutes consent to monitoring, retrieval and disclosure by authorized personnel,” the policy states. “Users have no reasonable expectation of privacy in the use of this system.”

The policy forbids using the WiFi network from receiving or transmitting pornography. “Accessing or displaying obscene language or sexually explicit graphics or materials is prohibited.”

The policies also prohibit users from “misrepresenting themselves as another user, attempting to modify or gain access to files, passwords or data belonging to others, seeking unauthorized access to any computer system, or damaging or altering software components of any network or database.”

Using the city parks’ WiFi network “to access any inappropriate, offensive or disturbing material may result in a permanent ban on future access to the WiFi Network within any city park,” according to the policies.

The committee recommended that the Common Council approve the WiFi policies.

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