Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Price of SandyNet Wi-Fi to rise by $5

Users see first rate hike in eight years of Sandy wireless


SandyNet Wi-Fi users should expect to see a larger monthly bill beginning in April.

At its monthly meeting in March, the Sandy City Council approved a $5 monthly increase, effective with the April billing.

Sandy IT Director Joe Knapp reminded the council that for the past eight years SandyNet (5 megabytes) has been priced at $19.95 for residences and small businesses.

During that time, significant improvements have been added to the system, Knapp said, to keep pace with a growing customer base.

City Manager Scott Lazenby told the council a survey pegged the average cost at $31 per month to provide new service, adding to the system’s 1,200 subscribers.

The rate increase has been brought to the SandyNet Advisory Board several times in the past six years, Knapp said, but each time it declined to increase rates.

This time, however, it seemed more necessary to board members. Lazenby said it was prudent to do it now because the city soon will be planning a budget for the next biennium.

“But if you look at the value (of the service),” Lazenby said, “it’s still the best value around — bar none.”

If the increase is carried throughout the entire biennium, and before the fiber-to-the-home project takes some Wi-Fi subscribers away, Knapp said the rate hike would produce about $180,000 in revenue.

But that is only a projection, and city officials don’t believe it will take more than two years before the fiber-to-the-home project takes a significant number of customers away from Wi-Fi.

But SandyNet Wi-Fi is “hugely popular,” said Lazenby. So the tightrope the city is walking is to keep service working well for its customers while fiber-to-the-home is being installed.

Eventually, it is likely that Wi-Fi will be “phased out,” Lazenby said. When fiber is available at each home, it isn’t likely that most city residents would want Wi-Fi.

“Our plan is,” Lazenby said, “that there would be no Wi-Fi customers inside the city limits.”

But the current service would still be available in the rural areas outside the city limits, Knapp said. That service is priced at $39.95.