NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodFond du Lac


What's going on with Fond du Lac's WiFi? City, neighbors weigh in

Posted at 6:55 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 19:55:49-04

FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — The City of Fond du Lac has offered free public WiFi for years. While some neighbors said they enjoy the service, others said it isn't worth it or didn't know it existed.

  • The WiFi serves much of downtown and is free to use.
  • The strength is inconsistent around the city.
  • The service uses existing infrastructure.
  • Some residents say they like the service, others don't want it.

Fond du Lac City Manager Joe Moore said they installed the WiFi to take advantage of a system already in place used by law enforcement to write reports.

"It's money-saving for people that are trying to conserve their data usage if they're connecting otherwise by cell," Moore said.

The city couldn't tell me just how much the WiFi costs.

"The investment in public Wi-Fi is part of a broader infrastructure investment rather than a distinct yearly cost for public Wi-Fi." Fond du Lac's IT director Kathryn Duveneck said in an email.

"It's a fairly minimal cost," Moore said.

Former city council member Ken Cassady said he doesn't believe the city should spend *any* money on it.

"It's redundant in that almost every business provides for it... I don't see WiFi as an essential service," Cassady said.

The city couldn't provide the exact boundaries for the WiFi, but I tested it in some popular locations.

Near the lighthouse in Lakeside Park… I couldn't get any signal, same with downtown.

In other places I did connect, the speed was slow.

I also went around town asking people if they use it.

"Downtown around here wherever I carry my phone with me pretty much all the time. So yeah, good to have WiFi,"

But others didn't even know it existed.

"I've seen signs for it but I've never known how to hook up to it or I've never seen it show up on my phone."

"I wasn't aware of until just now,"

Many people I spoke to said they were interested in using the WiFi if it expands, something the city says is in the works, with a focus on enhancing connectivity downtown and in city parks.