Downey switches to new internet provider

DOWNEY – The Downey City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to replace Time Warner Cable as the library’s internet service provider in favor of a new company that promises cheaper and faster internet access while eliminating the current two-hour Wi-Fi limit. The company, Califa, is a state 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 than Downey’s current ISP. It would also be $2.50 cheaper per month.

Through Califa, the library would be able to create “virtual libraries” at select parks and the civic center, offering mobile access to electronic books and the internet.

Park sites currently scheduled to receive virtual libraries include Discovery, Independence and Apollo.

Downey’s library and civic center currently offer 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 be $72.50, with rebates applied.

Councilman Fernando Vasquez has long sought free public Wi-Fi at public spaces, including downtown.

“I think this is a step in the right direction, but I don’t think it’s the end game,” Vasquez said Tuesday.

 

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Published: Feb. 26, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 46