Janesville business hopes to establish free Internet network

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Jim Leute
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

JANESVILLE—A Janesville business owner is once again working to make free wireless Internet service available to downtown visitors.

Robert Novak III first came up with the idea back in 2010, when he co-owned a technical service company with two partners in Kenosha.

That partnership broke up, and Novak in January opened Novak Networx, a company that focuses on information technology consulting, web design and spam filtering services.

“After starting my own company in Janesville, I've rededicated myself to the Internet project downtown,” said Novak, whose business was one of the first to move into the Janesville Innovation Center.

The free network gives easy Internet access to downtown visitors, he said.

Novak Networx will donate all of the equipment and labor to install the network. It is asking downtown businesses to support it by donating a small portion of their own Internet network.

Novak said a small access point would be placed inside each participating business. Each business  then would share a small portion its Internet to create the larger downtown network. Traffic will be distributed among all access points, he said.

Secure firewalls will prevent any access to any business networks, and Novak said he would monitor the network to ensure fair access. The free network, he said, is for visitors, not downtown residents or businesses.

“This is a more economical way without spending massive amounts of money for more Internet access,” he said. “Most businesses probably only use about 10 percent of their Internet.”

A UW-Whitewater graduate with a business degree and emphasis in information technology infrastructure, Novak said he already has two access points in the first block of South Main Street, as well as in Courthouse Park.

The system is up an running, and users do not need a password to access it.

Novak plans to add another access point in the same block next week.

He's also discussed access point in several parks with city officials.

Novak hopes to install more access points and spread the free wireless network through downtown Janesville.

“The project's main goal is to give patrons another reason to go downtown, enjoy all it has to offer and visit the local businesses,” he said. “It's a way to give back to the community and the downtown area in particular.

“Overall, free Internet access for downtown visitors is just another check mark in the right column for Janesville.”


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