Free Wi-Fi, courtesy, City of Eugene by Pat Farr

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Did you know that you can get free Wi-Fi access at various sites throughout the city courtesy of the City of Eugene?

 The city charges comunication companies (phone, cable T.V., etc.) a tax for operating facilities inside the City of Eugene.  The tax gathered is used for public benefit in a number of areas such as recently completed projects like Mobile GPS for Emergency and Disaster Response and a Planning Department Land Use Inventory and ongoing projects like Public On-Line Police Reporting and Fire and EMS Cable Television [paid] Public Service Announcements.

The tax is paid by over 100 different companies operating in Eugene and is most often passed along to the end user (Eugene residents) by way of a line item on their bill.  Companies who pay the tax include familiar names like Comcast, Qwest and Verizon, but also include much smaller providers (many of whom entered the local market after the tax was begun in 1997) like Oregon Pathology Consultants and Zone Telecommunication (examples).  For a full list visit www.eugene-or.gov/telecom .

One other way Eugene is providing a public benefit through the collected taxes is offering free Wi-Fi to residents and visitors at a variety of sites throughout the City.  Sites include City facilities such as community centers like Petersen Barn, public buildings like the Atrium building and through parks like Echo Hollow Pool.  Access is non-secure, but the cost is right.  For more information on the free Wi-Fi go to www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server.pt? .