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Waterfront Wi-Fi should be available by end of November

Washington’s waterfront Wi-Fi service should be up and running by the end of November, according to David Carraway, the city’s director of information technology.

“All the equipment is in. We’ve just got to start configuring it. I was kind of waiting for this to make sure you signed off on it … before we move forward with it,” Carraway said to the City Council during its meeting Monday.

The council unanimously approved the memorandum of understanding concerning the waterfront Wi-Fi service. The document spells out the responsibilities of the city, the Washington Harbor District Alliance, the Washington Tourism Development Authority and the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce in paying for and operating the service.

Councilman Doug Mercer expressed some reservation about the agreement including a clause that allows any of the parties to terminate it at any time without cause.

“That’s the way it’s written; yes, sir,” Carraway replied.

“The ability to terminate without cause disturbs me,” Mercer said.

City Attorney Franz Holscher explained: “Given the responsibilities of each party under the agreement, it would be pretty difficult to have a for-cause termination. I think this is a new venture, this a new project, and I think there was some idea that one or more of the parties, including the city, would like to have an opportunity to get out of it if it needed to.”

The city’s current budget includes $20,000 to help launch the downtown/waterfront Wi-Fi service.

The Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, the Washington Harbor District Alliance and the Washington Tourism Development Authority have agreed to pay the recurring costs of the waterfront Wi-Fi service. Spokesmen for the three organizations have said Wi-Fi in the downtown/waterfront area will enhance visits to the area by residents, tourists and boaters.

Each of the three organizations agreed to commit $3,000 to help the city bring public Wi-Fi service to downtown Washington and promote it. Also, each entity agreed to provide one-third of the recurring annual costs for each year of the three-year contract term.

The Wi-Fi system’s firewall will have the ability to incorporate a splash screen to enable users to register with a user name and password to access the wireless network, according to a memorandum Carraway sent to the mayor and council members. The system will have four access points.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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