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Chattanooga spending millions on 'boondoggle' Wi-Fi

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Excalibur Integrated Systems Inc., employee's Paul Maki, left, and Joseph Watts work to get the city's internet wi-fi systems operational from atop the Police Service Center Annex on Amnicola Highway. Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press. Excalibur Integrated Systems Inc., employee's Paul Maki, left, and Joseph Watts work to get the city's internet wi-fi systems operational from atop the Police Service Center Annex on Amnicola Highway. Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -

Chattanooga's citywide Wi-Fi network is still a few Krystals short of a sackful, even as taxpayers continue to pony up tens of millions of dollars for an Internet service that will remain exclusively available to local government.

Mayor Andy Berke says he wants to spend another $20 million on the wireless network to curtail congestion around the city's busiest intersections. But critics say that, after five years, the city is just throwing away good money on a muddled mishmash of pilot programs, and that the only thing the city will reduce is the amount of money it has left to spend on other priorities.

"I think it's a boondoggle," said City Councilman Larry Grohn. "It's a great idea, but my initial question is, are we getting our money's worth right now from what we've spent so far?"

It would be easier to answer that question if officials knew how much the city has invested so far.

Read more from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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