The Detroit Free Press says that two group are trying to catalyze community wireless networks in the Motor City. The first is called Detroit Wireless Project and will be holding meetings downtown to brief groups on the ease of setting up a hotspot. The other is DetroitCONNECTED, which wants to get hotzones into poor neighborhoods. They’re going to connect some low-income families to the Internet by the end of March, with some churches in the Warren-St. Antoine neighborhood to follow. — February 20, 2004
Earthlink might finally be going wireless as an ISP (beyond what it has with partner Boingo). The Sacramento Bee in Calif. reports that the company is teaming with Digital Path Networks to offer wireless ISP service in the paper’s area, for around $20 bucks a month for 384Kbps downstream — even that slow, a major savings over most wired broadband. Digital Path already has service in about 15 locations in that area, but Earthlink would likely resell it under their name, giving it a brand push, at least for the trial if not beyond. The Digital Path network uses proprietary fixed wireless to reach a building, and from there each subscriber’s home or business becomes a Wi-Fi hotspot that can be used by any Digital Link subscriber who’s roaming about. Earthlink is a major investor in what Digital Path is doing, so the partnership is a natural. — February 20, 2004
Tropos Networks equipment has been used to set up another metro-sized mesh network: this time provider Syndeo Communications Group has covered 13-square miles of Lafayette, La., just in time for the Mardi Gras celebration. Subscribers with 802.11b equipment in range can get on the network for Internet access, plus they’re using customer premises equipment to extend it to customers not within range. At least for the duration of the festival, Mardi Gras goers get free access, along with public safety officials, who can use it for video monitoring and communications. — February 19, 2004
Austin, Texas, continues to be a hotbed of Wi-Fi. The city’s non-profit Partners in Free WiFi and its local partners will be working with the SXSW 2004 Music Festival and Conference to provide free music by local artists over the like-wise free hotspot connections in town. Over 500 songs for users of Apple’s iTues software will be available for via an iTunes share. — February 19, 2004
Roaming service provider WorldWisp is teaming up with GRIC Communications . WorldWisp subscribers will be able to get online at GRIC locations with hotspots, dial-up or wired high-speed access. — February 19, 2004
Gartner , the research firm, said today in a new report that the use of hotspots the world over will triple this year alone. They expect the number to go to 30 million, compared to last years 9.3 million. This will happen because by the end of the year 50% of all notebooks owned by professionals will have Wi-Fi capability, whether built in or from after-market cards. They warn that enterprises that don’t come up with a strategy for getting employees safely and securely online with these laptops while out of the office are looking for trouble. That means using firewalls, VPNs, and most will want to look to managed services like those from Boingo, GRIC, and iPass. — February 18, 2004
All Clarion Hotels and Comfort Suites owned by Choice Hotels will soon by providing free wireless service courtesy of 3com and some of its channel partners.. The Wi-Fi service is expected to be standard in common rooms and meeting areas by the end of the year; guest rooms will have Ethernet access by plugging into 3com workgroup bridges. — February 18, 2004
Subscribers to the Sprint PCS Wi-Fi service can now get access at 500 hotels with iBAHN-branded high-speed wireless run by STSN. The two companies have a bi-lateral agreement, so STSN users can also use hotspots run by Sprint. The telecom said last summer it hoped to open up 2100 hotspots by now. Reports say they actually only have two. — February 18, 2004
Boingo Wireless’s roaming agreements continue to be announced apace. The latest is with Visacom of Sophia-Antipolis, France. Visacom runs hotspots in 30 French hotels, casinos and resorts, and in two airports in Corsica. Access to the sites will be available t subscribers to Boingo’s Platform Services program for enterprise customers. They’ll also be providing Wi-Fi coverage at the 3GSM World Congress meeting next week in Cannes– service will be free in five Visacom locations in the city. — February 17, 2004
Over in Spain, the city of Malaga is going wireless. Libera Networks is located there and has teamed up with the town hall to launch the Malaga WiFi Project, a tourist information network. They’re going to scrap tourist information kiosks to instead provide information via Wi-Fi-based “walled garden.” All the information for tourists will be free and the net will initially cover the five points in the city’s historic center. Later it will move to hotels, restaurants and other areas. Libera will provide consulting, security, maintenance and more. — February 17, 2004
Doubletree Hotels say that all 160 of its locations will offer high-speed Internet access in every guest and meeting room by the end of this year due to customer demand — almost half of its 41,000 guest rooms already have it. This will be Ethernet based probably. Lobbies and other public areas in some of the hotels use Wi-Fi. The chain also is using printing services from PrinterOn to allow guests to get hard copies. — February 17, 2004
Minnesota based WISP Wi-Fi Guys is providing hotspots in a couple of new hotels in Michigan: the Hampton Inn and the Holiday Inn Express, both in Holland, Mich., off of US Route 31. To log in, users just get a password when they sign in at the front desk. Both hotels are owned by Suburban Inns . — February 17, 2004
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