Downey considering unlimited WiFi at Downey parks, civic center

DOWNEY -- The Downey City Council on Tuesday will consider replacing its current internet service provider with a new company that would offer cheaper and faster internet access, and eliminate the current two-hour WiFi limit. The company, Califa, is a non-profit created by the California State Library, which offers internet service on behalf of 86 library systems. It utilizes a technology called CalREN, which is used by California colleges and universities.

According to a staff report, Califa is proposing 1 GBPS of public internet access, which would be 20 times faster and $3 cheaper per month than Time Warner Cable, the city's current ISP.

By using Califa, the city would also be able to create "virtual libraries" to provide free WiFi access to library cardholders at the Civic Center and Discovery, Independence and Apollo parks.

Downey's library and civic center currently offers free wireless internet, though it's capped at two hours per day by Time Warner Cable.

The initial cost to switch to Califa is $72,287, which includes a required firewall upgrade ($18,200), seven WiFi access points ($7,000) and five PoE switches ($15,000). Downey, however, could pay nothing thanks to rebates and a state of California grant.

Downey's monthly fee would $72.50, with rebates applied.