By Nancy Kelly
Berwick is poised to become a smart community with the addition of a no-charge wireless service in the downtown core.
The town’s Smart Community Initiative will allow free public access to the Internet, with some limitations, explained Finance Director Greg Towne.
“We are the third Valley town to offer this, Windsor and Hantsport already have systems up and running.”
The town is funding the $25,000 project internally and will pay about $100 per month to the town of Windsor for monitoring services.
“They have the hardware and the experience, so it makes sense,” said Towne.
The service will provide a traditional Internet connection, but will not allow users to stream movies or access features such as online gaming. The initial installation of four radios will provide access about 100 metres on either side of Commercial Street between the Berwick Baptist Church and Mill Street. Service protocols are now being fine-tuned before the system goes live in 2013.
“We will see how it goes and make changes as required. We may have to put limitations on it,” Towne said.
The project has required considerable “front end” re-wiring and infrastructure work to power poles and the town hall. Once it has been completed, the potential exists to add more radios to extend the WIFI system to the entire town and integrate other services for electronic and security initiatives.
“It will definitely give the town some new technology options moving forward,” said Towne, who anticipates the new telecommunications initiative will also allow Berwick to build on its efforts to be economically competitive and attract and promote commerce.