The end goal is affordable, wireless internet for everyone across Monroe County. That plan was outlined in Maggie Brooks’ State of the County Address last year, and it's officially launching Tuesday.
In Phase One, the county is partnering with Frontier to start up the high speed "Wi-Fi" in three communities. In Pittsford, everything's ready to go. In Greece, work is about 80% complete. Officials tell us the installation in Rochester will be complete in the next six weeks.
The network will benefit a lot of businesses, especially one in particular. There are the customers who stop by Spin Caffe on Park Avenue in Rochester for a coffee or pizza to go. But there are also the customers who come for the relaxed atmosphere.
"We have a couple regulars who are more or less using this space as an alternative office so we have a lot of people who come in and do work, drink their coffee or whatever," said Daniel Rozman, a Manager at Spin Caffe.
He says the coffee shop gets internet access through Frontier right now. But it's not as efficient as it could be. Daniel gets a lot of customers complaints about how slow it is. He says high speed “Wi-Fi” could make all the difference for business. "Anything that brings people in and makes us useful is helpful to us financially."
Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks says this high speed network makes the Rochester area competitive with other metropolitan cities. "If we agree we want more businesses in our community this is critical for us."
Phase One is a test run to make sure everything goes as planned before expanding the network further. Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy says they need to take it one day at a time. "These partnerships across the country they've had some bumps so I think we want to make sure this goes right. It's a great step for us to see how this works."
Phase One cost 3 million dollars. Frontier foot the bill, so there's no cost to taxpayers. The network is under construction. It's expected to be fully operational by the end of March.
Here's a breakdown of the cost for wireless internet. If you're already a Frontier customer, you can get the high speed “Wi-Fi” for an extra $9.99 a month. If you're not yet a Frontier customer, you can purchase the package for a dollar a day or $30 a month. If you just needed to get online for a one time project, you can buy an hour pass for $4.99.
The service is free in six spots in Monroe County, including the Pittsford Plaza, The Mall at Greece Ridge and near Rochester City Hall.