Hotspot Hits for April 2, 2004

  • WLAN management provider Aptilo Networks is partnering with the European WeRoam service. Any provider using the Aptilo Service Management Platform will soon be able to flip a switch to make their venues a roaming spot for WeRoam subscribers. WeRoam currently claims 8,000 hotspots on their virtual network world wide, which facilitates moving between Wi-Fi and GSM networks. — April 2, 2004

  • Marriott International , which runs hotel brands like Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn and SpringHill Suites hotels and more sent an update of numbers this week. It said that 1,200 of its 2,700 locations have HSIA: high-speed Internet access. They’ll have 2,000 hotels with HSIA by the end of the year. Guest rooms usually have Ethernet connections, but Wi-Fi is available in lobbies and other common areas. — April 2, 2004

  • Canadian WISP Tadaa, working with Cogir Management Group, the owner of the Westmount Square office/condo complex in downtown Montreal, Quebec, have announced what they say is “the most ambitious high-speed wireless Internet access project in North America.” Up to 1500 residents and visitors of the Westmount Square location can be on the wireless network simultaneously. They can continue to get access to the network if they’re within 3km line of sight of the building. Tadaa has roaming agreements with companies like Trustive, Fatport, Hotspotzz, Boingo, iPass and others, so subscribers to any of those services can use the Westmount Square location to their heart’s content. — April 1, 2004

  • The Austin Wireless City Project, which plans to launch free Wi-Fi throughout much of the Texas city, says it now has more hotspots than T-Mobile. Project president Rich MacKinnon breaks down the numbers from hotspot directory to say that T-Mobile Hotspot has 34 locations in the airport, Starbucks, Borders, and Kinkos. One month after its launch, Austin City Wireless has jumped to 36 free locations, and has 75 more on a waiting list. The Project claims the city municipal buildings, a park, and several non-chain businesses as venues. — April 1, 2004

  • If you’re shopping in a Borders Books & Music store and haven’t a clue what that T-Mobile Hotspot sign in the window is all about, you no longer have to confront a confused book seller or barista to find out. The two companies, along with O’Reilly & Associates publishing, are going to hand out free booklets called T-Mobile Hotspot: A Guide to Getting Unwired at Borders to explain it all. The publication will tell you how to get online using various operating systems (even Mac OS X and Linux), security issues, and tips for “getting the most out of a wireless networking experience.” The book will include a free day pass and a coupon for $5 off any O’Reilly book. They don’t say so, but you can probably use all the same information at any T-Mobile powered hotspot such as Starbucks and Kinkos. — April 1, 2004

  • Miami-based SmartWires has launched Wi-Fi service at the CocoWalk shopping center in its Miami’s Coconut Grove. Visitors can get an account number to use the 802.11-based service from the CocoWalk management office. Until June 30, first time users can try a 30-minute free trial of the service; after that, the cost is $4.95 per hour, $6.95 per day or $19.95 for unlimited usage all month. — March 31, 2004

  • Mesh networking company Tropos Networks scores another one: its outdoor equipment is in use at the Texas Motor Speedway. Outback Telecom is the system integrator. Tropos says they installed the network in a day and it is now ready to provide Internet access for 50,000 attendees of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Samsung/RadioShack 500 on April 4. About 6,200 RVs will be parked around the Speedway, staying the week, so this is how they’ll stay in touch with home or work. A week of service will cost $39. — March 30, 2004

  • SBC Communalizations has had a busy day of Wi-Fi announcements. Reuters reports that the SBC Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, is now one of the largest hotspots in the world, with “universal Wi-Fi connectivity.” The service is courtesy of SBC and partner Nortel Networks and will be free for fans at games (who already have to pay a lot to get in). No word on any special applications users can access to follow the game online rather than looking down on the field. — March 30, 2004

  • London-based firm Infonetics Research says that even though Wi-Fi is kicking 3G’s behind cost and popularity wise, carriers see them as complimentary and will use both in future strategies. Based on interviews, Infonetics says North America has the most wireless ISP activity, with Asia in second. In Europe, fixed and mobile service providers for phones will likely win out over WISPs. Aggregators like iPass and Boingo will “play an important role in the development of the market” since they’re really the only way to effectively do any roaming across networks. — March 30, 2004

  • With the announcement a while back that all the Kinko’s retail locations — which have Wi-Fi service from T-Mobile Hotspot — would be purchased by shipping giant Fedex, could United Parcel Service be far behind? Of course not. So it’s no surprise today hearing that SBC Communications will be putting its FreedomLink Wi-Fi service in 1,500 existing UPS Stores and Mail Boxes Etc. locations around the country. There are currently 3,300 UPS Stores, going to 5000 by the end of the year — new stores are expected to get the service as well. The network will supported by Wayport, which provides management services for SBC hotspots. The companies plan to offer both wireless and wired services for customer connections at a cost of $19.95 a month unlimited, or $7.95 per day. Previously, there had been 66 UPS Stories around Chicago in a hotspot pilot program with Toshiba Systems Group (CSG)’s SurfHere hotspot network. — March 30, 2004

  • Broadband provider Time Warner Cable is introducing hotspots. The San Antonio, Texas, branch launched the first Road Runner Speed Zone this week, using equipment from Airespace. The hotspot is deployed at the San Antonio Rivercenter Courtyard, in hopes of getting customers to use the service during the NCAA Final Four tournament. The service will be using 802.11g and requires login via a 128-bit encrypted SSL (through your browser). Existing Road Runner cable modem users can log on with their current usernames; new users can pay by credit card or buy cards with time increments. — March 30, 2004

  • The Bellmore Memorial Library is one of two libraries in Nassau County on Long Island now providing free, unlimited use Wi-Fi to patrons. Each network will handle up to 30 clients at a time. The networks were donated by local Internet provider Network Doctor, using hardware from Proxim .

    Speaking of libraries, the BBC carried a story this weekend saying that 10 rural libraries in England could be getting a combined #60,000 grant from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to install wireless LANs. They may also buy laptops that patrons could borrow for Internet access. — March 29, 2004

  • Sprint clarified its Wi-Fi plans a bit with a recent announcement about bilateral roaming with hotspots run by . Previously, Sprint had said it would be helping to build out the network, providing backhaul at locations along US highways. This probably seems obvious, but now Sprint officially says that its PCS Wi-Fi users can roam freely at locations, and vice versa (though Sprint doesn’t have many locations yet, despite previously saying they’d have 2,100 by the end of last year). Sprint recently announced a similar bilateral roaming agreement with hotel high-speed Internet provider STSN. Sprint users can also roam on the Wayport network. — March 29, 2004
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