The Kitsap Public Utility District’s community Wi-Fi project is off the ground in downtown Bainbridge Island.
The island’s chamber of commerce approached KPUD several years ago about providing free wifi in the downtown area, and now that free Wi-Fi is available to residents and visitors along Winslow Way and Madison Avenue, the chamber said in a news release.
While the Wi-Fi is free, it is not secure, meaning users shouldn’t transmit any personal information or make financial transactions using it.
KPUD has been testing Wi-Fi in downtown Poulsbo as well, contracting with Intellicheck Mobilisa, Inc., last spring to analyze the best ways to provide public wireless Internet to a variety of mobile devices and laptops. The Port Townsend technology company specializes in wireless technology and identity systems, according to its website.
KPUD had encountered problems with smartphones being compatible with the Wi-Fi antennas before bringing in Mobilisa to test and possibly install new antennas for the wireless project.
The Wi-Fi is free to the public, for now at least.
KPUD was not testing the wireless project with hopes of making a profit, said Steve Perry, superintendent of telecommunications, last year.
“All options are on the table right now. Right now we are testing to see if it’s sustainable or reliable enough to charge for,” he said last March.
State law that requires public utility districts to sell the Internet at wholesale price to providers that offer it to consumers at retail prices.
Eventually, KPUD wants to have wireless testing done in six of the county’s community hubs — Poulsbo, Winslow, Port Orchard, Kingston, Bremerton and Silverdale.
I am waiting to hear back from Perry on current details about the Winslow project, including speeds.
KPUD requested the Internet speed be between 4 to 30 megabytes per second, ideally at or close to 30.
The Federal Communications Commission defines fast Internet as 4 or more megabytes per second.