I dream of valleywide Wi-Fi—browsing lightning-quick over cocktails Downtown and surfing on my (Wi-Fi only) tablet at Woofter Dog Park. It’s a big dream, I know. Just ask the mayors of Seattle, Philadelphia and Kuala Lumpur—all places that have experimented with and struggled to provide public Wi-Fi. Seattle abandoned its project after seven years last April, saying it was just too expensive. Kuala Lumpur phased out public Wi-Fi service and passed a law requiring restaurants and cafés to provide it instead. But we’ve learned from their mistakes—at least, we could. Vegas seems primed for city-wide Wi-Fi, what with tourists booking everything online and Downtown Project aiming to make the city the co-working capital of the world. (Try co-working without an Internet connection.) Perhaps we’re already moving in the right direction. The City of Las Vegas is working on a plan to offer free Wi-Fi Downtown, and last week, MGM Resorts announced it would offer free Wi-Fi in low-rise public spaces through a partnership with Cisco Systems, with upgraded bandwidth available for a charge. Bellagio, MGM, Mandalay and the Mirage are already up and running, and other resorts are slated to roll out similar service this year. It’s not a Boca Park-to-Henderson high-speed network, but, hey, it’s a start.
Wed, Jan 16, 2013 (5 p.m.)