Hotspot Hits for June, 2005
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June 27-30, 2005
BroadbandAccess is new to the following locations: San Bernardino, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego Counties in southern Calif.; Beaumont, Texas; cities between Seabrook and Portsmouth, N.H.; Wilmington, Del.
The company has also enhanced EV-DO coverage in areas such as Houston, Texas; Valley of the Sun (covering Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and other cities in Arizona); southern Nevada (including Las Vegas); new cities throughout Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, mostly along major highways like I-95; and out to King of Prussia, Penn. from the existing Philadelphia deployment.
This, undoubtedly, more to come: At a Yankee Group Conference in New York today, the CEO of Verizon Wireless said the company will have BroadbandAccess and the V CAST multimedia service "available to half the U.S. population by the end of the year." BroadbandAccess is $80 a month; V CAST video on-demand is an extra $15 per month, both require a computer or phone with EV-DO support. —June 28, 2005
June 20-24, 2005
and a voice over IP setup from Avaya, for use by the 156 players and 2,800 volunteers and journalists covering the event. The network was setup by Imagine Technologies of Colorado, an Avaya distributor. —June 22, 2005
Hotspot directory and access software maker JiWire says that 100 countries on the planet Earth—most likely the very planet you're reading this from—have some form of public hotspot access available. The U.S. has the most locations, followed by the UK, Germany and France. Top Cities, however, are London, Tokyo, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong, and New York. There are more hotels and resorts with Wi-Fi than any other type of venue.
JiWire is also releasing its Hotspot Finder software for use on the palmOne LifeDrive mobile manager, the new PDA with a hard drive inside. There's a free version with limited search results, or users can pay $10 to get unlimited info when searching.—June 21, 2005
Speaking of directories, a local hotspot Web site has launched to list the public Wi-Fi found in Birmingham, Ala. BhamWiFi.com (run by TechBirmingham with the Internet Professional Society of Alabama ) has over 150 locations listed, including the airport, Dreamland BBQ, the public libraries, hospital waiting rooms, parks, and bars including WorkPlay. The city wants to up its standing in Intel's Most Unwired Cities list, where it currently ranks as #87.—June 21, 2005
Hotels and Resorts with new Wi-Fi installations this week include:
- iBahn (formerly STSN) says it is the first provider of hotel Wi-Fi to support Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) as an option. All 2,100 hotels and conference centers using iBahn service can use it, so business users don't have to worry if they don't have a VPN tunnel back to the home office.
- Wayport handling ten properties for Shell Hospitality's vacation ownership resorts at Orange Tree Golf & Conference Resort, Legacy Golf Resort, Star Pass Golf Resort, Waikiki Marina Resort at the Ilikai, Best Western Inn of Chicago, Inn at the Opera, Mountainside Lodge, Desert Rose Resort, Peacock Suites Resort. Suites at Fisherman's Wharf (listed as "high speed Internet" so might not be all wireless).
- The Howard Johnson Hotel in North Miami, Florida will be using the "Super WiFi" installed by Global WiFi Plus for both guests and hotel operations needing Internet access. This expands Global's Delray Beach location southward, part of the company's plans for making a hotzone covering southeast Florida.
- Kerzner International's One & Only La Palmilla Resort Los Cabos, Mexico, on the tip of the Baja peninsula, is now unwired with equipment from BelAir Networks. This includes all 172 guest rooms, which get access from signals beamed inside from BelAir units mounted on poles and palm trees. The network was installed by Viasys Network Services. —June 21, 2005
The Wi-Fi hotspot backlash? Hotspots in downtown Orlando, including free access in Lake Eola Park, are being shut off after 17 months—and getting only an average of 27 customers per day in that time. The service cost the city about $1,800 per month. If someone else comes along to foot the bill and perhaps expand the service beyond downtown, the hotspot may come back.—June 21, 2005
The Oasis Hot Springs Mobile Home Park in Desert Hot Springs, Calif., is now a hotzone for residents, courtesy of Seamless Skyy-Fi. Tenants pay $20 a month.—June 21, 2005
The State House in Montpelier, capitol city of the state of Vermont, has been outfitted with a single Vivato base station and several Vivato microcell APs to give legislators in the House chamber and Senate chamber, plus the near by administrative building, full Wi-Fi access to the Internet. The public (like lobbyists or the media) can also access the service, for $25 a month or $250 per year. The Legislature pays the cost for lawmaker access. So far, only 68 out of 180 members have used the system, but the IT director of the Vermont Legislative Counsel, which installed the system, thinks that number will grow.—June 21, 2005
Cities officials looking for a one-stop site covering nothing but the nuts and bolts of municipal Wi-Fi networks should check out Unwire My City. Founder John Cooper says his vision for the site and its blog is to "advise others on municipal projects," an inspiration he got after attending a conference where such officials were asking a lot of questions about installing wireless broadband.—June 21, 2005
Japan's livedoor Internet service provider is launching a service called D-cubic in a trial this month on the JR Yamanote train line that connects the major city centers of Tokyo. D-cubic will expand to the entire Yamanote train line by October if successful, eventually providing 2,200 access point locations, set up on utility poles in the city. It will be built by Poweredcom, using ICOM AP5500 access points using Atheros chips with eXtended Range (XR) and Super G technology for better range and speed.—June 21, 2005
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the "democratic, peaceful and stable" island country of Mauritius, off the east coast of Africa, is planning to be the first nation on earth that's totally wireless. ADB Networks in installing the network across the island, which is 40-miles long and home to 1.2 million people. It connects back to the mainland via an undersea fiber-optic cable for all phone and Internet connections.—June 20, 2005
June 13-17, 2005
Verizon Wireless has launched EV-DO service in San Antonio, Texas. The wireless broadband service will support not only BroadbandAccess, the company's wireless Internet access, but also V CAST, its wireless multimedia service that allows playback of video-on-demand, and on phone handsets. The entire city will receive coverage, which will extend out to Bexar County, south to Lytle and Elmendorf, north to New Braunfels and San Marcos. Nearby Austin is also getting an extension of it's EV-DO coverage (launched in September 2004), so drives along Interstate 35 between the cities will include full service while on the road. BroadbandAccess is $80 a month; V CAST is $15 a month for unlimited access, and the first two months are currently free. —June 17, 2005
Connexion by Boeing, usually known for in-flight Wi-Fi on airplanes, announced its first maritime customer this week. Teekay Shipping Corporation will install the satellite backed service on 50 vessels, and might go as high as 90. But that's not really for the public. However, the company is going to allow customers of TeliaSonera to use their accounts to get access while on planes. It'll still cost extra —access isn't built into TeliaSonera's subscription price —but there won't be any extra signing up. That's good for customers traveling on Vienna-based Austrian Airlines, as it is the latest European airline to sign up for the high-speed Internet service. Seven aircraft used in longhaul flights will be outfitted with the needed equipment starting in 2006. —June 17, 2005
Time Warner Cable has extended its contract with NetNearU to continue running the back end of TW's Speed Zone hotspots. The venues, mainly in San Antonio, Texas, are free to use by subscribers of TW's Road Runner broadband cable modems. New Speed Zone hotspots were opened this week at three Jim's Restaurant locations in San Antonio. —June 15, 2005
Pronto Networks will be providing backend support to BelAir mesh networks. The first location covered in their partnership will be the San Antonio downtown area around Alamo Plaza (an area with 2.5 million visitors per year). Charges for access in the location will be $3 per hour or $10 for the day. The two companies will work together on marketing, training and sales for future metro deployments. —June 15, 2005
The restaurants formerly known as the International House of Pancakes (now just IHOP ) have signed a deal to use VPN services from Netifice Communications to connect all the locations no matter what type of broadband they have available. Franchisees then can pick and choose from other Netifice services, and that includes its managed hotspot service. Which is good, as Wayport is starting a pilot program with IHOP to install 70 hotspots (some with wired connections as well) in restaurants across the country. That's just a start though, as there just under 1,200 IHOP locations in North America. —June 15, 2005
Connexion by Boeing says that the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways, will use its in-flight Wi-Fi service on the company's fleet of 25 aircraft (some from Boeing, and others from rival Airbus). It will be installed for use on flights from the Persian Gulf to and from North America and Europe. The install with be Connexion's first to also offer live television channels as well as Internet access. —June 14, 2005
Invisi-Wire Broadband Networks says it will use multi-radio mesh networking equipment from Strix Systems to unwire the following cities in northern Louisiana: Ruston, Grambling, Vienna, and Choudrant. The first phase covers 70 square miles encompassing 35,000 residences and two universities (Louisiana Tech and Grambling State) and should be done later this month. Phase 2 will move the coverage into Lincoln Parish and provide separate services for first responders. Later, Invisi-Wire plans to expand throughout the northern area. This is a model for the state's announced plans to connect all the rural areas and higher-education schools with wireless. Customers will need an 802.11b/g CPE in their homes to connect securely; cost is $35 per month, with VoIP service an extra $25 per month. —June 14, 2005
Telecom New Zealand's CDMA2000(R) 1xEV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized) network will be expanding, through an upgrade deal with Lucent Technologies, to provide the 3G wireless data service to "every main city and town in New Zealand...by Christmas." It is currently available only in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch and some vacation areas. Lucent will manage the project and network planning and installation, and will continue to managed and maintain the network as it has since 2003. —June 14, 2005
Wayport's latest hotspots are located in 13 Marriott Vacation Club International vacation timeshare villas, with at least nine more to come. The new locations, with the number of villas covered, include: Grande Vista (810), Desert Springs (638), Canyon Villas (86), BeachPlace (206) , OceanWatch (142), Villas at Doral (99), Legends Edge (77), Newport Coast (418), Shadow Ridge (318), Manor Club (200), Timber Lodge (137), Grand Residence – Lake Tahoe (199), and Fairway Villas(120). —June 14, 2005
AirCanopy Internet Services, a Red Oak, Texas-based provider of wireless broadband (using Motorola Canopy and Alvarion products), says it has crossed the milestone of 1,000 customers. The company charges $40 a month for services starting at 768Kbps, up to $100 for 6Mbps, with $150 installation fees. —June 13, 2005
iPass will expand service in Belgium, and soon into Luxembourg, through a partnership with Telenet. The provider will have over 1,000 hotspots in the two countries by the end of the year, located in hotels, gas stations, train lounges, and the Antwerp Airport. —June 13, 2005
Bluesocket says its BlueSecure 5000 controller is running the 80 access points from Foundry which are providing wireless at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. Access is there for 5,300 students and 450 faculty and staff using multiple operating systems. The company says the controller is "crucial because of the school's federal mandate to protect student identities." Local sports writers can use it while in the gym attending NCAA Division II games. —June 13, 2005
Bangkok, Thailand's Thai-Fi e-mails to say it will provide wireless services at the 265 units of Fraser Place luxury apartments and condos in Langsuan, Bangkok, run by Fraser Serviced Residences of Singapore by October. Thai-Fi recently announced Wi-Fi service in 80 units (plus pool and lobby and Zanotti's restaurant) at the Saladaeng Colonnade residence building in Bangkok, managed by NAI Andrew Park. —June 13, 2005
June 7-11, 2005
The Dallas Morning News says that next week, T-Mobile Hotspots will announce new roaming agreements that will increase its network footprint by (at least) 525 hotels and 39 airports in the U.S; the total number of T-Mobile Hotspot locations will be 25,000 worldwide, up from 16,000. Most of the new locations are overseas, and many will have extra surcharges on top of the regular subscription price. T-Mobile will also announce its first customer numbers, expected to be 450,000 users, as well as its first corporate customers. The article claims that one third of these users get reimbursed by their employers when using hotspots. —June 11, 2005
Southern Oregon's Mail Tribune says that Craig McCaw's ClearWire, a proprietary wireless broadband service, is coming to the areas of Medford, Central Point, Jacksonville, Phoenix and White City. Service is also available for trial in towns in Florida, Minnesota and Texas, with plans to deploy in other areas of Oregon and Calfornia. Prices start at $30 per month with a $25 activation fee, plus $5 per month to rent the ClearWire "modem"—and prices go up with more bandwidth as needed. There's also a $50 per month business package. (ClearWire seems ready to embrace WiMax only when the eventual 802.16e spec—the "mobile" WiMax—becomes ready. Which will take a while longer.)—June 10, 2005
The St. Louis Business Journal says that local cable TV provider Millennium Digital Media (MDM) is going to work with NetNearU's TrackOS back-end system to create local Wi-Fi networks in its service areas in Maryland, Washington, Oregon and Michigan, starting in the Seattle area.—June 10, 2005
So what if Seattle is the Most Unwired City in the U.S. according to Intel (see below)? You have to pay for it! However, according to MetroFreeFi.com, a site which only tracks free Wi-Fi hotspots, the Top 25 Free Wireless Cities are led by San Francisco. News on this comes from AnchorFree Wireless, who blame themselves, since they put in hotzones (actually, 310 hotspots) in the Castro, Filmore and Marina districts of the city. The city claims 430 free hotspots overall, jumping up from the 120 that previously had it right behind Chicago (191). The rest of the top five include Palo Alto, Calif. (101), Atlanta (86), and Austin, Texas (84). California is the most unwired state overall, with 1,179 free hotspots.—June 9, 2005
SiriCOMM, which provides hotspots at 255 Pilot Travel Center truck stops and other roadside stations, is now offering prepaid InTouch Internet access accounts, which can be purchased at the Pilot truck stops. They can be purchased in 24-hour increments ($7), as well as monthly unlimited access ($25) or a full year of unlimited access ($190). Access can also be purchased with credit cards at a hotspot or though the SiriCOMM Web site.—June 9, 2005
The four-day Telluride Bluegrass Festival next week in Colorado will have free wireless access for the 10,000 attendees. The network is called AgileAIR, and was installed by ABEO using equipment from ValuePoint (rugged access points) and FireTide (mesh routers for backhaul). It will feature a Web site with schedules for performances and workshops during the fest, as well as weather info, since there's a lot going on outdoors—another reason the festival organizers wanted wireless.—June 9, 2005
Monzoon Networks of Switzerland is going to use Airpath's InterRoam platform to set up automatic roaming agreements with other wireless providers. No deals with other providers have yet been announced by Monzoon.—June 9, 2005
ICOA Corp.'s 24th wireless airport network is at BOI, as in Boise, Idaho. This is the company's 12th to provide full wireless across the entire facility. Access is provided as an amenity to passengers (3 million a year) via a sponsorship from local MPC Computers and advertiser Liz Younger Agency. —June 08, 2005
Nintendo made it official today. Reuters is reporting that the game company will launch 1,000 hotspots in Japan by the end of this year, free for use by owners of the DS portable game system. The hotspots will likely be found in stores that sell the DS portable. Nintendo plans to offer a similar service overseas. Two Wi-Fi compatible games—Mario Kart DS and Animal Crossing DS—will be out by the end of 2005 to take advantage of the hotspots. —June 08, 2005
RoamAD says that a recent survey "of customers, partners, and prospective purchasers of metro Wi-Fi networks" revealed that VoIP and VoWiFi services are the driving force to setting up such networks, not mobile access to data. 50 percent said voice was "as important as, or more important than, mobile broadband data." This is up from 10 percent a year ago. —June 07, 2005
Intelhas released its third annual list of the Most Unwired Cities in the U.S., based on surveys done by Sperling's Best Places that rank municipalities based on the sheer number of hotzones and hotspots available. This year, Seattle (along with Bellevue, Everett and Tacoma) Wash. tops the list.
The top ten list is as follows:
- San Francisco/San Jose/Oakland, Calif. (#1 in 2004)
- Austin, Texas
- Portland, Ore./Vancouver, Wash. (#1 in 2003)
- Toledo, Ohio
- Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
- Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.
- Orange County, Calif.
Related to the Unwired Cities are the Most Unwired College Campuses (top five: Indiana U at Bloomington, Purdue, University of Texas at Austin, Case Western Reserve, and Dartmouth College) and Most Unwired Airports (top five: Dallas/Fort Worth, LaGuardia, Atlanta, O'Hare in Chicago, and Baltimore/Washington Int'l.) —June 07, 2005
The Copper Mountain Resort condos in the high country of Colorado are the latest lodging to building in Wayport for-fee hotspot service. Wireless access will be in all the guest rooms and common areas, plus the 68,000 square feet of meeting areas. —June 07, 2005
Boingo Wireless subscribers can now roam into the Wi-Fi networks set up by Advanced Wireless Group at Boston's Logan International Airport, which was launched in June 2004. This includes users of Boingo Platform Services. This brings Boingo to a total of 116 airports across the globe on its aggregated network. —June 07, 2005
Vivato is working with OSS provider Pronto Networks and WISP Access AnyPlace to install wireless service for a five square mile area of Daytona Beach, using three Vivato outdoor Base Station panels and 10 microcell APs. This helps fix the fact that about 70 percent of Daytona Beach hotels have no Internet access, according to the city's visitors' bureau. Pronto will handle all authentication and billing. —June 07, 2005
BellSouth announced plans today to offer pre-WiMax-based wireless broadband services this year, starting in Athens, Ga. in August and expanding into Florida by the end of the year. The service will be called BellSouth FastAccess Internet, and they'll do it using RipWave equipment from Navini Networks. Athens-based college students will be a target market, and they will be allowed to suspend subscriptions while away for the summer months. The company is also working with Cingular on some trials of seamless mobility for businesses using combination Wi-Fi/cellular devices; trials are starting in Atlanta. —June 07, 2005
Galt, Calif., will offer wireless service to 4,000 homes in a four square mile area, courtesy of Softcom, an ISP using BelAir Networks' mesh hardware. Half of the network is live now, and 1,000 users are already subscribed. The rest of phase one will finish by July. Part of the installation required deploying BelAir hardware on the roofs of homes—people that allowed such deployments get a discount on their wireless broadband from Softcom, which costs $25 per month to start (plus a $100 equipment fee), with other plans for businesses. Phase two will probably include a private section of the network for use by city workers. —June 07, 2005
June 1-3, 2005
Book publisher HarperCollins is getting into the hotspot biz, part of its "Publishing+" program. The company is providing a free hotspot at the Book Expo America show at the Javits Center in Manhattan this week. In the fall, it will start a pilot called HarperCollins Connects that would put free hotspots in bookstores around the country. The participating bookstore, along with HarperCollins, will be featured on the sign-in page customers will encounter when they sign on. The company hasn't said what company will be providing the equipment and service for Connects, but this will put the publisher in competition with services like T-Mobile Hotspot and SBC FreedomLink, which provide the for-fee hotspot services at the big Borders and Barnes & Noble store chains, respectively.—June 3, 2005
Nortel says it will be providing wireless mesh as part of Phase II of the Taipei Mobile City project in Taiwan's capital. Operated by local Qware Sytems, the network will allow users to get on the Internet from all of the city's mass transportation stations and throughout the downtown commercial area by the end of this year. When finished, M-City, as it's known, will have 10,000 APs covering 90 percent of the city.—June 3, 2005
The city of Minneapolis is the initial target of a new deal between US Internet Corp. and partner Aptilo Networks out of Sweden. The latter will provide management, the former will put in the wireless front end, and together they plan to go national with mesh networks, figuring on "two major cities per state" to get a taste of their joint effort. —June 1, 2005
The rural areas of Minnesota (as well as Wisconsin and Michigan) can try a new wireless broadband installation from StoneBridge Wireless Broadband, also based in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The company has installed $2.5 million of Alvarion's BreezeACCESS equipment in those states, covering about 100 communities. Businesses can get speeds up to 256Mbps on the network. —June 1, 2005
Nortel will be providing $126 million (US) in equipment to Canada's Bell Mobility (owned by Bell Canada) to install a 3G data network supporting CDMA2000 1X and 1XEV-DO. Speeds of 2.4Mbps are expected at the high end, with the average topping out at 500Kbps. Select markets should have the EV-DO network before the end of the year. Initial deployment will be in Toronto and Montreal. —June 1, 2005