Recently, in a local paper, someone tried to create some FUD (fear, uncertainy and doubt) around the proposal to boost Chapel Hill into the ranks of those municipalities that understand that an investment in their technological infrastructure is a required investment in their future.

Madison provides another example of a community adopting a forward-looking strategy to save monies on internal operations, heighten their economic profile and spur economic development.

Oh, and it comes no cost to their taxpayers.

The Madison network will be rolled out at no cost to the city and the providers have secured initial funding from service agreements from ISPs. The initial phase of the Madison network will cover users in the downtown region of the city with plans to later cover the entire city.

But it took a little political will and vision to pull it off

“I made a commitment in 2004 to bring Wi-Fi to Madison,” said Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz in a statement. “This is an important new service for Madison residents and businesses.”

I’ve suggested we adopt a different business model – more akin to a public utility operated as a non-profit entity. Whatever model we eventually adopt, now is the time to start moving Chapel Hill forward into the 21st century.

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