Wireless Internet Access Policy
By Mary N. Cloutier
Starting in early May an interagency team has been drafting a policy to govern the private sector provision of free, or low cost, wireless internet access services to the public from State of Maine owned or leased facilities. Likely State facilities for public wireless internet access may include ferry landings, highway rest areas and state parks.
The policy will require the development of a pre-qualified list of companies capable of providing and maintaining quality wireless internet access services via a competitive bid process. An accompanying standards document will govern wireless internet access site specifications to ensure quality service that is separate from State operated networks. As defined in the policy, “site” may refer to an individual location (e.g. Moose Point State Park), or an explicitly bordered regional area (e.g. York County), or a type of facility (e.g. all Route 95 highway rest areas). Agencies may collaborate when seeking vendors to provide this service. To encourage companies to provide free or low cost wireless internet access, the State will not require companies to pay rent, or reimburse incidental utility costs.
This project is on a fast track and Chief Information Officer Dick Thompson will probably adopt the policy by the end of May. Shortly thereafter the team plans to start to implement it by releasing an RFP to establish the pre-qualified vendor list. The team also plans to create:
1) a Sample Request for Quotes (RFQ) for agencies, or collaborations of agencies, to solicit wireless internet access services, and
2) a Service Provision Agreement to be used by agencies to formalize a contract with private WiFi internet access vendors.
The business lead of this team is Cliff Curtis, Director of Intelligent Transportation Systems, Maine Department of Transportation. Mary N. Cloutier of the Office of Information Technology (OIT) is the process lead. Additional members include: Phil Lindley, Public Utilities Commission, Karl Beiser, Chief Executive Officer for Maine Info Net, Tony Vandenbossche, State Planning Office and Steve Lyons, Office of Tourism. Additional members from OIT include: Nancy Armentrout, AITD Department of Transportation, Tom Driscoll, AITD Departments of Agriculture, Conservation, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Marine Resources, Mike Pomerleau Policy and Strategic Planning, and Wayne Gallant and David Rodrigue of Network Services.