RealTime IT News

Hotspot Hits for Week of July 2, 2004

  • eLinear Solutions said today that it's providing the entire Dallas Independent School District with Wi-Fi. It's the 12th largest in the U.S., serving 11 municipalities. -- July 1, 2004

  • The newly built Conrad Miami hotel, an international chain owned by Hilton Hotels and Hilton International, opens today with a opening night rate of $100 -- and free Wi-Fi access throughout, in all 203 guest rooms and 116 suites. This is the first newly built Conrad in the U.S. (existing Conrad properties include the Waldorf Towers Hotel, also in Miami.). -- July 1, 2004

  • Sprint will provide the Wi-Fi services to be found at the Louisville International Airport in Kentucky, the company's third airport win behind Kansas City and Salt Lake City. They're taking over a contract T-Mobile used to hold. Sprint PCS Wi-Fi costs $9.95 for 24 hours, or $49.95 per month for unlimited access. -- June 30, 2004

  • Cisco says that France's major mobile telecom, Orange, plans to expand its Wi-Fi hotspot network from 3,000 to 4,500 locations by the end of the year using Cisco's hardware, including the recently un-wired Catalyst 6500 Series switch. They say it's the first time that users in France will have zero-configuration -- they won't have to change any computer settings to log on -- using Cisco's Mobile Exchange architecture. Orange has deals to provide 55 hotspots in Accor hotels and Air France business lounges. Cost will range from 17 centimes a minute up to 30 Euros per day. -- June 30, 2004

  • Reuters says that Yahoo BB -- a Japanese broadband provider, half owned by Softbank BB and Yahoo Japan -- has signed roaming agreements with the three major hotspot aggregators: Boingo Wireless, GoRemote (formerly GRIC), and iPass, as well as with T-Systems International (T-Mobile), allowing their customers to use up to 15,000 hotspots across 42 countries. Yahoo BB customers will pay only 40 yen per minute, about $.37. Softbank currently has 626 hotspots in Japan, but plans to expand to 5,000 by March 2005 -- looks like that number is included in the 15,000 mentioned above. -- June 30, 2004

  • The long-suffering and phoenix-like Ricochet Networks, which uses proprietary wireless mesh technology to provide Internet access in the cities of Denver and San Diego, has been bought up by retailer YDI Wireless for $3 million in cash plus some stock. They plan to keep selling the service. This is the WISP's third owner after coming back from the dead after original owner Metricom went into bankruptcy. -- June 30, 2004

  • The three yacht-like cruise ships of the Seabourn line -- the identical Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend -- all will have ship-wide Wi-Fi for guests needing Internet access starting this summer. The signal will reach almost all areas of the ship. Internet connections cost $.50 per minute, or $.25 if you buy a package ahead of time (that's $15 per hour). They've also knocked down the price of ship-to-shore satellite telephone calls from $12.95 per minute to $4.95 per minute. Each ship features an on-board Internet Center with new PCs and printers for use by all. -- June 29, 2004

  • STSN says that is has installed service (a mix of wired and wireless) in 2000 hotel properties. The magic number comes with the deployment at the The Lowry Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel in Manchester, UK. STSN's Easy Connect service will soon be coming to properties in Beaujolais, Brussels, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Florence, Frankfurt, London, Rome and St. Petersburg as well. -- June 29, 2004.

  • ICOA, known for running hotspots in cafés and airports, just bought iDock, a WISP that provides hotspots to boat marinas -- it currently runs Wi-Fi service for 17,000 slips in 22 marinas. -- June 28, 2004

  • Netopia made its Hot Spot Start Kits available today, which we previously reported on in May. The units are actually geared for small businesses or carriers that want to get into instantly providing hotspots to small businesses. They can personalize the access cards for the carriers, and the online service includes parental controls to force surfing customers to stick to family-safe sites. However, small businesses can get the kits directly from Netopia and pay them $40 per month for the service to handle all the billing and back end -- that's on top of paying for a broadband connection. The kits cost $329 for ADSL or $299 for basic broadband connections. Each includes a Netopia Hot Spot Gateway and access cards with access codes on them to hand out to customers, plus some marketing materials. -- June 28, 2004

  • Looks like T-Mobile might be offering a new Pocket PC based phone called the Mobile Digital Assistant II that will include a thumb-keyboard and Wi-Fi support so it can be used at hotspots as well as with GPRS and 3G cellular networks. The unit, expected to run Windows Mobile 2003, will come out in September. -- June 28, 2004

  • When Optus Wireless Connect launched in Australia last year, it claimed it would have 500 hotspots in the country by 2005. Now, according to site Australian IT, Optus is backing off that claim. The provider currently has 112 locations in coffee outlets. While it won't reach 500 by next year, the company does plan to continue rolling out service. -- June 28, 2004

  • While hotspots proliferate, not everyone is happy about it -- but tough cookies, says the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The agency say that unlicensed radio frequencies -- like that used by Wi-Fi -- can go where they want and where anyone wants them, and only the FCC can say it can't (say, if it interferes with something using licensed bands). That means airports, apartment landlords, malls, and even city, state and local governments can't restrict where Wi-Fi signals can and can't go. You can read the public notice from the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology. -- June 28, 2004