San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

San José, RACSA Will Expand WiFi, Add Cameras

The municipality of San José and RACSA have agreed to provide video surveillance at several locations in the city and to expand free wireless Internet access.

On Tuesday, city officials, including Mayor Johnny Araya, and Roger Carvajal, general manager for state Internet company Radiográfica Costarricense (RACSA) introduced the “metropolitan wireless net” project in which people would be able to connect to wireless from virtually all public places in the city.

This project also includes the installment of 13 additional high-tech video cameras that would monitor locations around the city 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

Currently, the city has two cameras in place, on Paseo Colón and in Parque Nacional. “These cameras would serve as video surveillance and a crime prevention tool specially around banking zones and heavily pedestrian areas,” said Carlos Garita Cabezas, chief of the municipality’s electronic safety division.

Although the initial cost of the project is about $100,000 for the first two cameras already in place and for the wireless technology, the entire price tag for all the cameras has not yet been determined.

The cameras can turn 340 degrees and can zoom in 300 meters onto a subject.

Unlike surveillance in place in cities such as London, the cameras in San José won’t have microphones to verbally discourage criminal behavior.

The wireless would give people with PDAs, Palms, Pocket PCs or laptops free access to the Internet from public places all over the city. Right now, the list of “hot spots” in town includes more than 20 locations, such as Metrocentro, Juan Santamaría International Airport, the National Library and Grecia’s Central Park, to name a few.

“This project would improve the quality of life of our citizens and help improve our security,” said Araya.

–Vanessa I. Garnica


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