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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Wi-fi plan about empowerment

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I refer to Peter Nielsen’s letter last week regarding the Mullum Wi-Fi community consultation. It’s true no evidence was provided to prove that the proposed system would eventuate in lower net radiation within Mullumbimby.

However, as a business owner, I know that business owners respond to incentives. The incentive required to have a business owner turn off their own system and use a different one is simply the new system must be better and cheaper.

The new system would be using fibre internet beamed from Tallowood as the backbone, so the new service would be better, plus the new service would be cheaper as it’s free.

Peter goes on to disagree with the implication that the meeting was not representative of the community. The meeting absolutely was not representative of the community.

We as a community are very apathetic and the simple truth was that there was no reason for the people who are supportive of the proposal to be there. They had assumed a free wi-fi service in the business district would be a sure thing. Had we offered an incentive to be there such as an iPad, there would have been considerably more bums on seats. In this community, we currently face some very serious and debilitating issues: high unemployment, limited access to education, near-zero public transportation, very little entertainment for young people and a practically broke Council.

The Mullum Wi-Fi proposal goes along way toward making a positive impact on these issues. We’re also a community made up of two major demographics: the 45- to 65-year-olds and the under-20s. The Mullum Wi-Fi proposal is about empowering the wisdom of the community and enabling the youth. This was barely touched upon on the night.

The final claim I wish to clear up is that the proposal is simply a money-making agenda. This is ludicrous! How do you make money out of a free service? And how does a free wi-fi service encourage people to buy computers? We already have free internet at the cafes and the library yet there are no lines of people eager to buy computers from the local computer shops.

Obi McDonald-Saint, Mullumbimby

Obi McDonald-Saint is the proponent of the project.

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