StarHub Launches Singapore's Largest Wireless 'Hotzone'
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A Wireless Broadband Hub, covering an area of 180,000 square meters or about the size of 28 international soccer fields, has been launched at the Suntec City, making it Singapore's largest public wireless 'hotzone' to date.
This means that areas within the Suntec City compound such as the Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Center (levels one through six, including all meeting rooms, exhibition halls, concourse and gallery), all Fountain Terrace restaurants, Fountain Plaza, Koi and Bonsai Gardens will be fully covered.
Using the global wireless standard IEEE802.11b or Wi-Fi, the Wireless Broadband Hub launched by StarHub will enable customers to simultaneously connect to the Internet or their corporate data networks at speeds of up to 11 Megabits per second (Mbps) without being constrained by wires or cables.
Local customers who want to gain access to the network would need to have an IEEE802.11b-compatible wireless local area network (WLAN) card. Overseas visitors to Suntec City who have iPass accounts will be able to use this service immediately while GRIC subscribers should be able to use their accounts at the Suntec 'hotzone' by Fourth Quarter 2002.
CEO of Suntec City Development, Wong Ah Long, added that the Wireless Broadband Hub will serve as a 'backbone' for Suntec City to explore the integration of General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) and 3G technologies, thus creating a perfect environment for high-speed Internet accessibility and advanced wireless applications.
Suntec City, whose aim include making the complex a 'Wireless City' for its office occupants, shoppers and exhibition visitors, had also launched TelePay recently which enables shoppers to pay for their purchases via their personal mobile phones.
It will also be introducing TeleParking, a service that enables its visitors to pay for their parking fees via their mobile phones and possibly other mobile devices from anywhere within the premise (http://asia.internet.com/asia-news/article/0,3916,161_1012591,00.html).
Instead of charging users based on the amount of time they stayed on the network, StarHub has decided that its customers should be billed according to the amount of data transmitted between their wireless laptops and personal digital assistants (PDAs) and the wireless access point.
According to Yu, this data-based subscription model makes better economic sense for users as wireless transmission speeds may vary throughout the day.
All non-exisiting StarHub customers who wish to subscribe to its Wireless Broadband Hub will be required to pay a one-time registration fee of US$5.75, after which they could choose from two plans.
First, the Wireless Broadband Basic Plan entails a monthly subscription fee of US$5.75 for 2MB pure Wireless Internet Broadband usage. Additional usage beyond 2MB is chargeable at US$0.0017 per kilobyte (Kbyte).
Second, the Wireless Broadband Executive Plan entails a monthly subscription fee of US$28.74 for 20MB pure Wireless Internet Broadband usage. Additional usage beyond 20MB is chargeable at US$0.0017 per Kbyte.
All existing customers of StarHub Paid Internet, StarHub Mobile, StarHub Business Solutions and SCV (MaxTV and MaxOnline) will get a 50 percent off both the subscription fees and the per-usage (Kbyte) charges.
Plans In The Pipeline
StarHub will be upgrading its IEEE802.11b platforms to include future standards (e.g. IEEE802.11a, IEEE802.11g and IEEE802.1x) in the future. It also plans to integrate these localized wireless 'hotzones' to StarHub's nation-wide GPRS/3G networks, allowing seamless interconnection between fixed wireless and mobile networks.
It will also roll out more 'hotzones' in Singapore later this year. And subscribers to its Wireless Broadband Hub at Suntec will also be able to access these other hotzones.