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RealTime IT News

Hotspot Hits for April, 2005

Week of April 25-29, 2005

  • With this week's release of the new Mac OS X (version 10.4, aka "Tiger") comes a fast way for Macintosh users to find a hotspot. The JiWire directory is now available via a Tiger Dashboard widget. A single click will let users get access to the directory's 63,000 hotspot listings from across the globe. —April 29, 2005

  • No shock here: The 380 "free" hotspots that Verizon put into payphones in the New York metropolitan area (mostly Manhattan) back in the summer of 2003 are being turned off due to lack of use. The problem was, it was only free if you subscribed to Verizon DSL. Instead of Wi-Fi from Verizon, look for NYC to get an upgrade to EV-DO service—which will not be free. A Verizon spokesperson said in the announcement that EV-DO is "the better business model." —April 29, 2005

  • This is a little backwards from the norm, where carriers usually start wired and go wireless, but Connectfi's RVwifi division is going to offer more than just Wi-Fi service at the Voyager RV Resort—it's going to offer DSL for the permanent residents. Apparently, the Voyager has phone service, so adding DSL is not an issue; service is also offered at the nearby community called The Bay. The company will use ZyXEL DSL equipment. —April 29, 2005

  • Toshiba's MyConnect remote access service (built upon the GoRemote service) is going to charge a "Dollar-a-Day." That's the name for the new monthly payment plan they're rolling out, which is really a new price of $30 a month. In February, of course, that means you're out two bucks (but it's a bargain in those 31-day months). The service costs $40 a month otherwise. To get the Dollar-a-Day deal, you have to ask for it by July 1. MyConnect supposedly has access at 23,000 hotspots in the U.S. alone.—April 26, 2005

  • Wi-Fi will be the latest amenity—totally free to all— throughout the terminal at the Brunswick Golden Isles Airport in Brunswick, in southeast Georgia. The terminal there will soon have Wi-Fi hotspot service from ICOA Corp.'s Airport Network Solutions (its tenth airport). —April 26, 2005

  • The city of Mount Clemons, Mich., 15 miles from Detroit in Macomb Township, will soon be getting wireless service as an alternative to wired broadband. The city council has contracted with Global WiFi Plus (GWP) to install a 15 square mile network that will provide access to 36,000 households (who would pay $25 a month) and 7,000 businesses ($100 a month). The downtown area will be done by next month, with the rest of the build-out to happen over the summer. GWP claims to have already signed up 3,600 households and 700 businesses. GWP also has service in the areas of Watsonville and Spring Valley, Calif.—April 26, 2005

  • BelAir Networks says the deployment in Bristol, England known as StreetNet—live since November—is the region's largest hotzone. The network was created by the city council along with Cityspace, which uses the BelAir products in deployments including last week's announced Technology Mile in Islington. StreetNet just won 'Best Enterprise Deployment for the Public Sector' from the Wireless Broadband Innovation Awards. —April 26, 2005

  • New Wayport hotel: The Coast Anaheim Hotel at the Anaheim Convention Center, only a block away from Disneyland in California. Guests get free access in all 490 guest rooms and in the lobby and lounges. They only have to pay if attending meetings in the 30,000 square foot meeting area. —April 26, 2005

  • The Thalys high-speed train route between Paris and Brussels will soon be offering a satellite-powered Wi-Fi connection to passengers. It's already been tested at 4Mbps down and 2Mbps up, even when the train is running at 300km per hour. Siemens provided the equipment and the network management system (housed in Belgium) through integrator 21Net of the UK, using the Garderos OSS system for authentication and billing of customers. The network will be in a pilot phase for three months on a single train, but if it works out, all 28 trains traveling between the cities will get service. All paying passengers get a login ID and password they can use to access the service.—April 26, 2005

  • Microcom says it will be the first to deploy fixed wireless in the Democratic Republic of Congo (indeed, in central Africa), using the BreezeMAX 3500 pre-WiMax system from Alvarion. Once live, the network will serve businesses and residential users in the city of Kinshasa, with a population of eight million.—April 26, 2005

    Week of April 18-22, 2005

  • Last week, ICOA Corp. said it was working with WiSE Technologies. This week, ICOA bought them. The Landover, Md.-based WiSE handles Wi-Fi networks in a few areas ICOA hasn't, including multi-dwelling units and higher education campuses. They also dwell in ICOA's usual comfort zones of airports and cafés. All of WiSE's Wi-Fi venues are expected to be integrated with ICOA's network. The deal should be finalized within the second quarter. —April 21, 2005

  • Sprint is planning to extend its own Wi-Fi hotspot coverage by around 10,000 locations through deals signed with other providers of service and equipment. Sprint says the move increases its number of venues to 19,000 worldwide, with a target of 25,000 by the end of the year. The deals include: access to 350 venues powered by Nomadix; bi-lateral roaming for users subscribed to networks running the Pronto Networks back-end OSS; access to 30 airport hotspots run by Opti-Fi; access to 3,800 hotspots through Fiberlink (limited to users of Spring's Extended Workplace Client software); and 6,000 hotspots in the United Kingdom run by Quiconnect including 30 airports (again, requiring the Workplace Client). The Extended Workplace Client is to get users online at Sprint locations fast without the need to jump through extra hoops. It works for all of Sprint's connectivity types, not just Wi-Fi. —April 21, 2005

  • The downtown area of Brenham, Texas is getting a free hotzone. The footprint will extend along a 15-block area. It is powered by AirMatrix mesh equipment, which is manufactured right in Brenham by Defacto Wireless Distribution. That company worked with the city on the installation of the zone, getting broadband connectivity from provider Texas Broadband. Service will be free to anyone with Wi-Fi equipment. —April 21, 2005

  • Glen Cove, N.Y., says it is "Long Island's first Wi-Fi community." Whether first or not, the city's businesses (teamed with local ISP Networked Now and marketing company Intrech Communications) are offering free Wi-Fi to the public throughout the downtown area, with access on School and Glen Streets. Funding is through both private means and sponsorships from local businesses. The groups say this is a first step to going citywide. —April 21, 2005

  • 75 locations in the Swallow Hotels and Swallow Inns lines in the United Kingdom will be getting high-speed Internet access (HSIA), a mix of wired in over 3,000 guest rooms and wireless in all public and meeting areas, through a $1.8 million US deal with provider Canova Wireless and equipment maker Colubris Networks. —April 21, 2005

  • UK Wi-Fi hotspot provider The Cloud has signed to become the facilitator of downtown wireless in Bridgend, Wales. The move is part of a plan for citywide public Wi-Fi by 2008. Initially, the wireless will be installed in 10 libraries; later, it will move outside to cover the town center, and will perhaps extend to Porthcawl and Maesteg. The end users in Bridgend will not be restricted to just one provider -- the service will support as many as 20 different providers, including BT OpenZone and O2. —April 20, 2005

  • Another Wayport hotspot? Sure: the Holiday Inn Westbank Hotel, outside of New Orleans, La., has added high-speed wireless Internet access in all 309 guest rooms, plus common areas. That includes the 4,500 square foot meeting space. —April 20, 2005

  • ZONET says its new hotzone, covering eight cities in Finland—Hamina, Lahti, Mantsala, Pori, Porvoo, Rauma, Vaasa and Vantaa—is one of the biggest in the world. The network covers 400 square kilometers and has seamless mobility for users moving from area to area, even though each has a different provider (including SuperStrada and Wivanet). The network was installed with equipment from Radionet, supplied by ServiceFactory, which handles IP services and access management. ZONET allows roaming from users affliated with services like Excilan (now owned by UK's RoamPoint) and iPass. —April 20, 2005

  • Islington, a borough of London, England, is now a large— and free—hotzone. The network, called "Technology Mile," (I thought they used kilometers...) was built using mesh equipment from BelAir Networks. It runs along Upper Street for one mile, and was built by provider Cityspace after being thought up by the Islington Borough Council. It's paid for by the Council's A1 Regeneration project (the hotzone covers the connection to the A1 main artery that goes into north London). Anyone with a Wi-Fi device can use it to go online, and the council is going so far as to provide some local businesses with computers that can be used by patrons. —April 19, 2005

  • Metromesh has launched a metro Wi-Fi network in downtown Perth, Western Australia, using technology from RoamAD. The software licensed from RoamAD has been installed on nodes Metromesh assembled from hardware available to anyone, but using RoamAD's specifications. The network will cover approximately half of downtown Perth by the end of May, and 80 percent by the end of 2005. —April 19, 2005

  • The New School University of New York City is connecting eight academic buildings in Manhattan directly with each other wirelessly, but not with radios. With light. The school is using 100Mbps free-space optics (FSO) from LightPointe to create 13 point-to-point connections, replacing older 10Mbps radio equipment which was overtaken by the growth of the student population (8,000 undergrad and 15,000 continuing education now enrolled) and its needs. —April 19, 2005

  • AnchorFree Wireless says its second San Francisco Marina District hotzone is now live. The new area is along Union street, running parallel to the previously-established zone on Chestnut. The company says the two zones together cover 120 public locations. Service is free to anyone with a Wi-Fi enabled device. The company also offers service in downtown Palo Alto to the south. —April 18, 2005

  • ICOA Corp. is branching out of the hotspot business and will be working with WiSE Technologies to make campus-wide networks for educational institutions. Ten campuses in the United States recently got grants through WiSE and the Higher Education Wireless Access Consortium (HEWAC) to get wireless networks, which ICOA will now design, deploy and manage. The names of the ten schools will be announced as the networks are finished. —April 18, 2005

  • Verge Wireless Networks, which set up a hotzone in downtown Baton Rouge, La. using Tropos equipment in 2003, is being bought out by US Wireless Online of Louisville, Ky. Verge also recently got a contract to unwire Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles, Calif. —April 18, 2005

    Week of April 11-15, 2005

  • Wayport is already providing Wi-Fi-based high speed Internet access (HSIA) in 59 properties run by John Q. Hammons Hotels. This morning, it announced five more: four Embassy Suites in Hampton, Va. (295 rooms), St. Charles, Mo. (296 rooms), Albuquerque, N.M. (261 rooms) and Frisco, TX (334 rooms); plus the Holiday Inn in Springfield, Mo. (120 rooms). Meeting rooms and common areas are also covered in all five.—April 14, 2005

  • RoomLinX is also adding a new hotel to its roster: the Belden-Stratford in Chicago's Lincoln Park, owned by IRMCO Properties.—April 14, 2005

  • Canadian WISP FatPort has been endorsed by Choice Hotels Canada as the select vendor to provide both wired and wireless HSIA. Choice Hotel chains Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality and Clarion are all under orders to provide such service. FatPort is already in four Quality Inns and one Comfort Inn, as well as 50 other non-Choice hotels in the country, with over 250 hotspots in total. —April 13, 2005

  • Global WiFi Plus (GWP) is upgrading its existing wireless facility on the top of Santa Cruz, Calif.'s Mount Madonna Mountain to increase the bandwidth available for wireless broadband. The move will let them expand service to nine communities without broadband. The customized Wi-Fi-based service will now go into 2,000 households that previously could not get high-speed Internet service in areas like Logan, Chitteden and River Oaks. A second phase of the project expansion will extend GWP's signal toward the South Bay area of San Francisco. —April 13, 2005

  • FirePlanet of New York City is offering hotspot services for businesses, with access that can then be resold or given away to end users. Cost for subscribers is generally set at $20 per month for unlimited use or $6 for a day -- or per minute: $12 for 300 minutes, with additional minutes for 10 cents each; or $3.50 for 20 minutes, with additional for 15 cents. The cost to the venue ranges from $249 a month on up, depending on the bells and whistles and revenue sharing plan wanted. The target audience for FirePlanet hotspots is the usual suspects: cafés, restaurants, resorts, marinas, the hospitality industry, public areas, etc. —April 11, 2005

  • Lodging Wi-Fi/HSIA service STSN is no more... the company (still named STSN) is changing the service's name completely to iBAHN to reflect its overall branding for hotels. The iBAHN brand name was previously reserved for the company's "premium secure managed broadband services." —April 11, 2005

  • Another marina for ICOA's iDockUSA? Sure, why not: Port Royal Marina of Redondo Beach, Calif. is the latest to get full Wi-Fi coverage to all slips. —April 11, 2005

  • The Register in the UK says BMW dealers theare are getting BT OpenZone hotspots installed in London-based service center waiting areas. That way, owners waiting for a car to get serviced can go online for #6 per hour. —April 11, 2005

    Week of April 5-8, 2005

  • 28 businesses in St. Charles County in Missouri are investigating whether they should turn the 586 square mile suburban area into "America's first totally wireless Internet county." The businesses, calling themselves Partners for Progress, are working with St. Louis-based consultants Fusiva to do a two-phase study. Fusiva has served as a consultant before to telecoms and carriers like Verizon, AT&T and Sprint on wireless and microwave deployments. It's still too early to say what form this will take.—April 8, 2005

  • ICOA's iDockUSA will be used by SailAmerica to provide all the Wi-Fi connectivity at this month's Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show in Oakland, Calif., in the Jack London Square. The show starts on April 13th, and is the largest all-sailboat exhibition on the U.S. West Coast, with 100 vessels and 300 exhibitors.—April 8, 2005

  • According to the UK's PCPro, BT OpenZone's 1,500 hotspots are now available for roaming to BroadReach customers -- and likewise for OpenZone customers at the 350 locations BroadReach operates as ReadyToSurf in the UK. As of this deal, OpenZone says its subscribers can reach 7,800 hotspots around the world through various roaming partnerships. BroadReach hotspots work with Skype through a previous deal, but the OpenZone hotspots are not currently set up to support the popular VoIP software.—April 8, 2005

  • RoomLinX has installed high-speed Internet access (HSIA) over wireless in both the rooms and common areas of the Seneca Hotel and Suites in downtown Chicago. Service is free throughout the hotel. (The company is also in the process of buying out a competitor, SuiteSpeed, in a stock swap. SuiteSpeed also exclusively puts HSIA in hotels, and works with properties like Renaissance, Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn, Radisson, Hampton Inn and Best Western.)—April 6, 2005

  • GoMoorHead!, a WISP in Moorhead, Minn. (pop. 33,000), operated by the Moorhead Public Service, is planning to provide wireless broadband throughout the area using Tropos Networks MetroMesh equipment. The network, which will go live in July, will cover the 13 square mile town. MPS thinks 5,000 households and 600 small businesses will sign up for the service, which will cost $20 or $25 a month (respectively). Subscribers can choose to lease or buy a wireless bridge to connect them to the service. —April 6, 2005

  • The recently reported on Education First Network is already improving, and it's barely off the ground. The group, which plans to allow roaming between school campuses across the United States through partnerships with Airpath and others, is also bringing Telex Communications into the mix. Telex will be able to provide schools with its Vega IP-based communications equipment which bridges radios like cell phones and two-way handhelds with the Wi-Fi network. This allows the EFN network to serve public safety officers and first responders in emergencies, who may not be using Wi-Fi-based equipment.—April 6, 2005

  • NextWeb is planning to offer fixed wireless broadband to around 50,000 potential business customers in the greater Los Angeles area. Downtown was covered first, in March, using three "pre-WiMax" base stations. Later this year, the next three phases of deployment will extend first west, then east (all the way to Ontario). NexWeb is already set up to the south in Orange County (the O.C.!) and north to Ventura and Santa Barbara. NextWeb will also bring its Broadband Access Network Coordination (BANC) group to the area, similar to what it has done in the Bay Area, allowing all broadband wireless providers to coordinate their use of unlicensed radio frequencies to prevent interference.-- April 5, 2005

  • The college town of Isla Vista, California, home of the University of California, Santa Barbara, now has a downtown 10-acre hotzone courtesy of FireTide's mesh equipment, installed by Incipient Technologies. The free-to-use Wi-Fi signal covers 26 businesses (including a Starbucks), and three parks. -- April 5, 2005

  • Wayport continues to offer some extras for its hotspot end users. Now it's offering free weather advisories, via AccuWeather.com's real-time doppler radar. Of course, these users could surf over to the AccuWeather site to get this, but the radar will be right up front on the Wayport sign-in completion page.-- April 5, 2005

  • No more watching your kid fall to the ice after she misses that triple Lutz—you'll be too busy surfing the Web! VSC Sports, which operates skating facilities across the U.S., has signed with DONOBi to get Wi-Fi hotspots installed at its various locations. DONOBi is a member of the Airpath Provider Alliance, so users of Airpath-powered hotspots can use the services at VSC Sports centers for free.-- April 5, 2005

  • The East Side Union High School District in San Jose, Calif., has gone wireless. Teachers at Santa Theresa High School, for example, can turn a classroom into a hotspot as needed with a mobile cart complete with AP and printer, with 30 Apple iBooks available for student use. Over at Biotech Academy, students can sign out a laptop for use in labs. The network is monitored and controlled by Roving Planet software.-- April 5, 2005