[Chtechcomm] Downtown Wireless report from the DTH

Steve Irving wsirving at morgancreek.net
Wed Aug 31 12:20:52 EDT 2005

Will and all,

Thanks for your questions. I'll do my best to clarify.

First, let me say that I became aware long ago that the questions posed by
any reporter and the answers provided by any interviewee are seldom related
in sequence or context when finally reported. This is not necessarily bad
reporting, it's just the way it is. I took this into account when Mr. Potter
contacted me by phone Monday and tried to be very reserved in my responses.

My 2-3 year comment was not a specific caution, a prognostication or an
estimate, but was in response to Mr. Potter's asking directly whether I
thought a downtown wireless network would be established by the end of the
current semester. My answer was no, and I elaborated by pointing out that
the Carrboro effort took 2-3 years to implement. 

This information regarding the timeframe for Carrboro is based upon two
articles published earlier this year:

The Chapel Hill News (3/11/2005, "Chapel Hill May Join Carrboro in 'Wi-fi'")
stated, "Carrboro several years ago launched an initiative to provide free
wireless coverage throughout its downtown." and, "The bulk of the work in
Carrboro will be complete within a few weeks, ...".

The Independent (3/23/2005, "The Triangle Unwired",
http://www.indyweek.com/durham/2005-03-23/cover.html) stated, "About two
years ago it [the Town of Carrboro] launched tocwireless.net ...".

I believe that Mr. Potter understood me to be speaking as a citizen and
member of the committee, but not as a spokesperson for the committee.
Nowhere in the article am I identified as a spokesperson, only a member.

I hope this addresses your concerns.


-----Original Message-----
From: chtechcomm-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:chtechcomm-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Will R
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 9:21 AM
To: Chapel Hill Information Technology Advisory Committee
Subject: Re: [Chtechcomm] Downtown Wireless report from the DTH


Thank you for the update.


Did you really caution that a rollout would take years?  I'm concerned that
your statements
were taken out of context.

Did the reporter understand that you were speaking for yourself and not the
TC? Considering that
municipalities are rolling out programs in the 6-9 month timeframe, a two to
three year horizon
for the work ahead of us seems rather a dire prognostication.


--- Terri Buckner <tbuckner at ibiblio.org> wrote:

> Downtown wireless network slow to start
> Dearmin pledges to help with effort
> August 31, 2005
> A downtown wireless Internet initiative that has sat idle for several 
> months is slowly booting up.
> The Downtown Economic Development Corporation and the town's Technology 
> Committee are discussing the possibility of bringing wireless Internet 
> access to the downtown sector.
> After the corporation proposed the idea earlier this year, the Chapel 
> Hill Town Council formally referred the issue to Town Manager Cal Horton 
> and the committee on June 27.
> Corporation Executive Director Liz Parham, hired in late July, met 
> Monday with committee Chairman Gregg Gerdau and member Steve Irving to 
> discuss plans for moving ahead with the initiative.
> "We need to find out how we can get this off the ground," Parham said.
> "We need to find out the best way to do this, what areas we should start 
> with."
> The corporation has thrown around the idea of creating a wireless zone 
> within the downtown sector since February, but inactivity has caused 
> some, including Irving, to push the corporation to begin work on the 
> initiative.
> "There's a lot of people talking about it, but there has been no 
> action," he said.
> Carrboro completed its downtown wireless setup last fall.
> Parham said Chapel Hill and the corporation will work to develop surveys 
> for business owners concerning the possibility of making the Franklin 
> Street area wireless.
> "We're surveying them so we can understand their needs, if they really 
> want Wi-Fi," she said.
> Businesses like Woody's Tar Heel Tavern & Grill and Jack Sprat Cafe 
> already offer wireless access to its customers.
> Residents of the Northside and Pine Knolls neighborhoods might also get 
> a separate survey as some within the committee have called for those 
> districts, which sit just outside the downtown district, to be included 
> in the wireless zone.
> "We want to make this inclusive," Parham said. "We'll have different 
> surveys for different needs."
> But Irving said the addition of residential networks could pose a 
> dilemma for the effort.
> "Some people have talked about including the Northside and Pine Knolls 
> neighborhoods, but at that juncture, it becomes a political issue," he
> Irving said that continuing the group discussions would be vital to the 
> effort's success.
> "It's very preliminary," he said. "We're just trying to get a feel for
> The process could emulate Carrboro's wireless initiative, Irving said.
> "Carrboro took two or three years to establish their service," he said 
> of the wireless zone that now ranges from Carr Mill Mall to the Century 
> Center and Town Hall. "It's a long time frame."
> Student Body President Seth Dearmin, who included a wireless initiative 
> in his campaign last spring, said he hopes his administration can help 
> that process move more quickly.
> "We're more than happy to help out, whether it's writing grants or 
> looking at budgets," he said. "We definitely need to work together."
> Since being elected in February, Dearmin has consistently pledged to 
> contact the town regarding the project.
> When asked about the meeting between the corporation and the technology 
> committee, Dearmin said he had not heard of it.
> The corporation will hold its regularly scheduled meeting at 7:30 a.m. 
> today at the Midway Business Center, off West Franklin Street.
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