Hotspot Hits for January 16, 2004

  • Australia’s SkyNetGlobal has signed a contract to provide wireless broadband service to GRIC Communications customers at its locations in Singapore, specifically 119 McDonald’s restaurant hotspots, as well as future locations in that country. — January 16, 2004
  • The New York Public Library has had wireless access in 53 branches located in the Bronx (34) and Manhattan (19) since November according to its Web site. Service is free but users have to bring there own computers to use it (the library has other networked computers, however). — January 16, 2004
  • UPDATE: Contrary to what we said on January 12, Bothell, Wash., north of Seattle, doesn’t have city-wide Wi-Fi. Make that CityWide WiFi, which is the name of the service from WISP Maverick Wireless Corp. — instead its in a 40-mile square area hotzone for the southern Benton County, around the city of Kennewick (we are geographically challenged). Maverick calls its service a “carrier grade, community-wide Wi-Fi network”. Subscribers can get 128kbps connections for $19.95, 512kbps for $34.95, or 1Mbps for $49.95. The network uses 256-bit encryption for security with an authentication scheme. — January 15, 2004
  • StarBand, the two-way satellite service used for home Internet access, is getting into the hotspot backhaul business. They’re partnering with NomadISP of Boise, Idaho, to get NomadISP’s AH-1 “Anywhere Hotspot” service in areas hard to reach with cable, such as RV parks and truck stops. StarBand’s dealers will offer the AH-1 service, which provides pay-per-use and monthly fees. Systems will be available in the spring and will cost about $1,995 for all the equipment, plus $189 per month on contract or $289 a month without a contract. — January 14, 2004
  • Passing through Kansas City International Airport in Missouri while flying American Airlines? If you’re in the Admiral’s Club, stop by the new club facility at Gate 79 in Terminal C — it comes complete with T-Mobile Hotspot service. — January 14, 2004
  • Matrix Networks of Portland, Ore., says its providing its cleverly named G-WIS (Guest Wireless Internet Service) in ten properties around Oregon and Washington state owned by Phoenix Inn Suites (all the rooms are large and filled with amentities). The service will cover 700 rooms in total plus common areas, and will be completely complimentary to users. January 14, 2004
  • ComputerWorld is reporting that a new startup in Mountain View, Calif., is hoping to use Wi-Fi to provide a “nationwide broadband network” targeting residential areas. The company, MetroFi , is run by a former Covad founder. The plan is to use 802.11g/b and specialized smart antennas to connect to users and have the backhaul handled by a combination of high-speed wireless and fiber optic connections. The company’s first deployment is intended for MetroFi’s home in Silicon Valley. — January 14, 2004
  • Wi-FI is invading the capital: DC Access, an ISP in Washington, said today that it has installed several Wi-Fi antennas on multi-tenant units (MTUs; that’s what we used to call apartment and office buildings) to bring wireless broadband to occupants. The company is negotiating with the building owners and managers to get the space they need on rooftops to do further installations, and they’re looking for more partners (hint, hint). The high-powered antennas do what DC Access calls “outdoor Wi-Fi” — essentially high-powered signals — to send and receive to buildings. It offers subscribers speeds up to 800Kbps. — January 12, 2004
  • McDonalds — and now the new McCafé coffee shops opening in select markets around the US — are going Wi-Fi at a steady pace. Wayport, for example, just opened a couple new locations in Raleigh, N.C. But the big news for McDonald’s Wi-Fi is across the pond. BT OpenZone, the hotspot end of British Telecom, will be providing service in 561 fast-food locations by March (more than they currently have in the whole of the United States) with 250 to be deployed by the end of this month. BT wants to have 4000 spots running in the UK by the summer and is thus picking up the McDonald’s installation bill itself, but will share promotion duties with Mickey D’s. Anyone in Britain looking to try the service should check in April, when they’ll offer a full week of free access at all locations. — January 8, 2004

  • Canada’s largest convention center has unveiled a new wireless network that it says can provide seamless, simultaneous coverage to more than 1,000 users. Visitors to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre can buy either one-hour or 24-hour access cards to use with their Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices (the network supports all three 802.11 flavors: a, b, and g), and Internet kiosks will be available for those traveling without a laptop or PDA.

    The MTCC, home to Comdex Canada and the Toronto International Auto Show, is spread out over six city blocks, making the WLAN installation challenging. The venue collaborated with Waltham, Mass.-based Chantry Networks on the project. According to the company, a key feature of the new WLAN is “virtualization,” which enables the MTCC to securely partition its wireless network into as many as 50 separate virtual sub-networks. Chantry has installed 25 access points at the center so far. — January 6, 2004

  • News Around the Web