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RealTime IT News

Hotspot Hits for Weeks of August 30 & September 3, 2004

  • They did it for Charlie, so why not for Frances? T-Mobile Hotspots across the soon to be very wet state of Florida will be offering free access until the end of the day on Monday, September 6. The service is ostensibly for hurricane-displaced persons needing to stay in touch with family and friends, but is actually open to all. There are almost 300 such locations in the peninsular state, found at Starbucks, FedEx Kinko's, and Borders Books and Music stores. —September 3, 2004

  • The Associated Press is reporting that the city of Philadelphia is looking to blanket the town in a 135 square mile Wi-Fi cloud. Everything is still in the planning phase, with estimates of $10 million for a deployment of equipment on city lamp posts. There's also talk that Internet access would be offered for free. The mayor has appointed a 14-member panel to work out the specifics.—September 1, 2004

  • Don't know your hotspots from your hotzones, let alone your clouds? A report from the Mobile Media Consortium and the New Media Institute at University of Georgia called "WiFi Clouds and Zones: A Survey of Municipal Wireless Initiatives" spells out the preferred nomenclature. A hotspot is Wi-Fi in a single coverage area (building, park, etc.). A hotzone is an aggregation of cooperating hotspots all using the same service (so you can get access in all locations with the same username/password). A Wi-Fi cloud is continuous coverage over a significant area (see Philadelphia's plans, above). And according to the NMI's findings, there are currently 38 clouds and 16 hotzones in the United States. That doesn't include several of both still in the planning stages.—September 1, 2004

  • The state of Michigan is making wireless Internet access available in Holland State Park and Grand Haven State Park for vacationers and campers. The access is installed as part of the state's MiWiFi project, and is powered by SBC FreedomLink service. Eventually, ten state parks, docks, and welcome centers will have the same service, including Ludington State Park, Mackinac Island State Park, New Buffalo Welcome Center, Coldwater Welcome Center and Clarkston Rest Area, Charles Mears State Park, Sterling State Park and East Tawas State Dock (the latter three will reopen in April next year). Cost is $7.95 per day, or $19.95 per month with a one year contract. Access to the Michigan.gov Web site is free (and eventually Michigan.org as well).—September 1, 2004

  • Wayport has service in The Great Divide Lodge, a full-service conference center in Breckenridge, Colorado. All 208 guest rooms have service, as do 10 conference rooms and the on-site business center.—August 31, 2004

  • Global Triad has installed what it calls Super WiFi 802.11 broadband tech in the Grand Palms Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (also Global Triad's home). It'll be testing today, and "generating revenues" by the end of the week.—August 31, 2004

  • GPS Industries says Chestnut Ridge Resort in Blairsville, Pennsylvania will be installing the company's combo Wi-Fi access and global position system service called Inforemer at both the Chestnut Ridge and Tom's Run golf courses. They've also recently installed the service at the Heritage Hills Golf Resort. The network is used by customers of the golf course, as well as staff. It's used for everything from Internet access to placing drink orders. To start, it will also be running on 82 golf carts at Chestnut Ridge, each with a 10.4 inch color GPS screen.—August 31, 2004

  • Reuters reports that the city of Amsterdam this week saw the launch of HotSpot Amsterdam, a network with a "supercharged version of Wi-Fi" that would provide a wireless cloud over Amsterdam from 125 base stations. The company will charge 4.95 euros a day or 14.95 euros per month for access with speeds of around 256Kbps. 24.95 euros per month brings speeds up to 512Kbps. The base stations are from vendor Hopling Technologies, also based in the Netherlands.—August 31, 2004

  • 5G Wireless says as of today it's finished deploying a high-speed wireless data network to be used by the public safety units of the coastal city of Oxnard, Calif., 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The network has been up since the Fourth of July, when it was used for communications throughout the city by the 230 police and fire offers. It runs a distance of four miles with non-line-of-sight connections back to a control center. The system uses a tweaked version of 802.11b with special antenna arrays to get its range.—August 30, 2004