FAIRBORN — The City of Fairborn is partnering with Cincinnati Bell to offer public WiFi along Main Street from Dayton Drive to Broad Street.
City officials highlighted that it is intended to draw more visitors and businesses to the downtown area. It is expected to take six months to install and will be ready for use by the summer months.
“We are going to be the first in the region to offer free public WiFi along our Main Street,” Assistant City Manager Pete Bales said as he presented the item to council Feb. 5. “I believe this really uniquely positions Fairborn to attract people who will take advantage of the WiFi, as well as businesses.”
It will cost approximately $388,000 to install, which will be split between Fairborn and Cincinnati Bell over a two-year period. In exchange, the city is giving Cincinnati Bell naming rights to the co-working and conference room spaces within the upcoming kitchen incubator located at 309 W. Main St. Cincinnati Bell is also providing television and telephone services to the entire 300 block of Main Street, otherwise known as the “Spark Block” — the area obtained by the Fairborn Development Corporation that surrounds the kitchen incubator space and includes the gluten-free kitchen incubator, The Inside Scoop, a pop-up retailer and upcoming Streetcats cat cafe.
“This is huge,” Fairborn Mayor Paul Keller said during the meeting. “This is great for Fairborn and will really move us forward.”
The city will pay approximately $1,400 monthly to continue offering the service. It will operate from a fiber optic line and will include a total of 10 wireless access points. Bales highlighted that some areas will be have higher speeds, but the entire area will be capable of accessing the free WiFi. The deal will additionally enable the city to track data analytics for marketing purposes, which can allow the city to determine its visitors. The information can also be provided to downtown business owners to allow them to reach their customers.
“WiFi provides a high quality of life not only to our citizens but to our guests — it’s almost demanded now when you go to places,” Bales said. “It’s going to allow us to collaborate with other businesses and other innovative businesses we’re trying to attract downtown and [it will position us] to be a destination to young, creative entrepreneurial spirits.”
Council Member Rob Hoffman pointed out that fiber optics is the way of the future and asked whether the city of Cincinnati Bell would be responsible for repair costs to the line if the need were to arise. Bales said Cincinnati Bell would pay for maintenance as it is included as part of the installation costs.
“I think that’s going to be absolutely instrumental to get people to recreate downtown,” Council Member Colin Morrow said.
The City of Springfield formerly offered public WiFi downtown from 2006 through 2010, according to its officials.
“We are going to light Main Street up, figuratively,” City Manager Rob Anderson said.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.