Councillors flick switch to start chat about free Wi-Fi
BYRON Shire Council will initiate a "round-table" meeting with community and business leaders to explore the feasibility of offering free wireless internet (Wi-Fi) in villages and towns across the shire.
The decision to start the Wi-Fi discussion was made at the most recent council meeting with all but councillor Rose Wanchap voting in favour of the idea.
Cr Paul Spooner said the concept would create economic benefits for the shire by allowing local businesses to promote themselves on line.
"Wireless devices could open to a Wi-Fi advertiser's promotions portal before allowing users to navigate away to Facebook, Google etc," he said.
Mullumbimby Chamber of Commerce secretary Obi McDonald-Saint said a "master plan" of known Wi-Fi hotspots in the shire could be developed.
"If businesses pooled their resources, every town could provide a cost-effective Wi-Fi service and get advertising on the free portal," he said.
Cr Spooner said Sydney councils Waverly and Marrickville already offered free Wi-Fi that allowed local businesses to promote themselves to up to two million users.
"Byron Shire could lead the way with this technology to the benefit of all the community," he said.
"Let's not get left behind in the 21st century, let's get the discussion happening."
Cr Wanchap opposed the idea before calling for a health expert to be included in the discussions to highlight any potential health hazards created by Wi-Fi hotspots.
Fellow Greens councillor Duncan Dey said some people were concerned they would be "irradiated" by Wi-Fi usage.