Jenny Haruyama, director of administrative services for the city, is leading the project to put wireless hot spots, where people can connect to the Internet free through a mobile device or tablet, in four buildings downtown.
“Right now, we’re trying to have all of our civic buildings all primed for free public Wi-Fi,” Haruyama said.
The Grand Theatre Center for the Arts has had an active hot spot since August. The Civic Center will be ready before the end of the year. Haruyama said the Downtown Transit Center will have wireless Internet in February, and by March, the Tracy Community Center will also be wired for the Web.
“(We are) really trying to promote access to the public for those that don’t have it. It encourages people to use online services if they are available,” she said.
There is another reason the city wants to make public buildings into wireless — Wi-Fi — hot spots.
“It’s also important that we have people who come to visit us, whether it’s a vendor or a consultant or we have dignitaries come, we have entrepreneurials come and want to meet with us — having that access does demonstrate a lot,” Haruyama said. “We are trying to encourage as much economic development as possible to reach out for folks that are in Silicon Valley.”
The director of administrative services said the city used $80,000 of the $185,000 capital budget for the Wi-Fi public infrastructure project to retrofit the Grand Theatre. The other three buildings were already designed to incorporate wireless access points.
Haruyama said Wi-Fi in the community center will give the city and the community more use options.
“It creates a different type of meeting place and use for that facility,” she said. “Take the Grand (Theatre). The Grand is a great example. Now that you’ve got Wi-Fi built in there, we can attract a lot more different audiences to that location.”
Haruyama says 340 separate users can take advantage of free Wi-Fi at the Grand Theatre. The wireless network at City Hall will be able to support 520 simultaneous users.
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