SOUTH PORTLAND — Free public Wi-Fi is now available in Mill Creek Park through a partnership between the city and Axiom Technologies of Machias.

Axiom installed wifi equipment in the park as a pilot project that will operate for at least a year, said Chris Dumais, South Portland’s information technology director.

Dumais said he believes providing freeWi-Fi in public places is an economic driver that will benefit residents and attract visitors.

“I am hoping that it will be a permanent fixture,” Dumais said.

The city kicked in $4,100 from the information technology budget for the pilot project, Dumais said. Several Wi-Fi “hot spots” in the park provide up to 5 mbps of symmetrical bandwidth for up to 30 minutes. After that, users must reconnect.

Dumais and Axiom will use the pilot project to determine the desire for wireless internet service throughout the city.

“We’d like to work with the city to help us understand what customers are looking for in order to help us make smart deployment choices to expand our wireless service into the city,” said Mark Ouellette, Axiom’s chief operations officer. “The installation of the fiber infrastructure in the city gives us plenty of options.”

Axiom plans to expand Wi-Fi service to the Knightville neighborhood next door in the near future at no cost to the city, Dumais said. The results of the pilot project will be evaluated over the winter.