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Lack of power hampers city wi-fi system

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – A St. Louis city official says free wireless internet will likely be available downtown this fall, once technicians figure out how to power it up.

AT&T is installing the equipment at no cost, and the city is providing space on street light posts.

But Jeff Rainford, an aide to Mayor Francis Slay, said those designing the system have run into a problem.

"We got a great deal," Rainford said. "Twenty hours a month at no cost, and then users would have to pay from there. But it was contingent upon AT&T being able to use our assets to power the boxes that actually put out the signal, and it's turning out that we have fewer assets available to do that."

City officials also want to install a separate, faster wi-fi system for police, building inspectors and other city workers.

However that would cost about $2 million, and would be subject to voter approval.

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