Selma Considering WiFi Hotspots, WRAL Skycam

Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver (center) discusses the benefits of updating the Towns internet service with Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Lacy (left) and Town manager Jon Barlow (right). Photo

The public and visitors to the Town of Selma would benefit from a proposed plan to update the Towns aging internet service.  Speed and reliability have been an issue at 9 of the 10 public facilities owned by the Town of Selma, including the Town Hall, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Library, and Police Department.

Kevin Eaves with VC3, the town’s information technology consultant, proposed a $58,870.73 upgrade to a wireless network that would improve the reliability and speed while also giving the public access to WiFi.  VC3 proposes to have fiber optic connected to the new Town Hall then wirelessly connect to the 9 other public buildings, including the Selma Council Chambers which currently has no internet service.

Eaves said a radio tower on top of the Selma Fire Station would be used for the wireless network.  The public would benefit by having WiFi hotspots at all 10 buildings.  He estimated the public would be able to have free service up to two blocks away from each public building.

The wireless system would have a cellular backup. Equipment mounted outside the buildings would be capable of sustaining 120 mph winds and would have battery backups.

Eaves said the hardware would cost $17,022, network installation $23,828, and the engineering around $18,020.  But after the upfront costs, the Town would pay about the same each month for the new and improved internet service at all 10 buildings compared to the current costs for individual service “patch worked” at the 9 buildings.

The cost also includes a request by WRAL to install a Skycam in Downtown Selma near the Old Town Hall Building.   No action was taken by the council.