Hotspot Hits for January, 2005

  • Boingo Wireless has teamed up with Monzoon Networks AG to allow roaming in Switzerland. Key locations in the deal include the Zurich airport, the Swiss International Air Lines lounge in Geneva, various convention centers and restaurants, and every single McDonald’s in the country—a total of 300 locations on Monzoon’s network should be live by the end of this year. The move puts Boingo access in 19 European countries.—January 31, 2005

  • The city of Quitman, Georgia, now has a wireless broadband sytem to complement its local cable options. The network was installed by Camvera Networks using Navini’s Ripwave system, a pre-WiMax solution that will deliver the same speeds as cable or DSL.—January 31, 2005

    Week of January 24-28, 2005

  • It’s a Whopper: Washington-based WISP DONOBi says it has a two year contract to provide hotspot services for Sound City Foods—the company that operates the Burger King fast food franchises within a major part of the state. No word on when the deployment will finish or how much access will cost, but DONOBi is already saying that “it makes a strong statement for pitching the 11,220 Burger Kings worldwide to follow suit.” DONOBi is in the Airpath Partner Alliance, so providers using the Airpath WiBOSS back-end can let their users roam onto the DONOBi network without extra charges.—January 27, 2005

  • SBC is lowering the price on its Yahoo! DSL Service from $37 to $30 a month. Anyone looking to try SBC’s FreedomLink hotspots have some extra time to check them out for free— through May 31 of this year. After that, existing DSL subscribers can use the hotspots if they pay just $2 a month extra. Non-DSL subscribers can use the FreedomLink hotspots for $20 a month or $8 a day. SBC has hotspots in McDonald’s and UPS Stores (through a partnership with Wayport) as well as various Barnes & Nobles and Avis rental car locations, among others.—January 27, 2005

  • Satellite-based broadband provider iDirect Technologies is building Pronto Networks’ Operations Support System (OSS) software into its iDirect platform, making it a Pronto preferred reseller. The OSS system will run the back office for systems using iDirect for backhaul, from hotspots up to entire community hotzones. This is Pronto’s first deal with a satellite provider. The first customer signed to use the software for Wi-Fi is Loral Skynet for its SkyReach IP service.—January 25, 2005

  • Bluesocket says its wireless gateways are now providing Internet service at two school districts: the San Juan Unified School District in Carmichael, Calif., with more than 45,000 students in 80 schools, and the Coppell School District of Coppell, Texas, near Dallas, with 10,000 students in 14 schools (plus the Coppell administration facilities).—January 25, 2005

  • Voice is the future for wireless providers, according to a report from Infonetics Research. They talked to 24 providers of fixed line and mobile services and WISPs, asking where they plan to grow their business. That future will require combining multiple types of wireless services, a “patchwork of different technologies supporting 3G, Wi-Fi, WiMax, and others.” They conclude that voice over IP over WLANS (or VoWi-Fi) is the application that will drive widespread WLAN adoption in the enterprise and beyond. 50% of providers surveyed plan to have VoIP by 2006.—January 25, 2005

  • Look out, GPS Industries: hotspot heavyweight Wayport has signed a strategic agreement with UpLink Corp. to create specialized Wi-Fi services just for golf resorts. UpLink’s management service already runs at 125 golf courses, all of which will get a recommendation to install Wayport Wi-Fi service.—January 25, 2005

  • You might know this if you’ve booted up a laptop in the back of a theater at the Sundance Film Festival, but through January 30th, areas of Park City, Utah will have free Wi-Fi Internet connections courtesy of Hotspotzz, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City. The free spots are at Prospector Square, Kimball Junction and lower Main Street; regular Hotspotzz locations in Park City include Leger’s Deli and Loco Lizard.—January 25, 2005

  • Canada’s Prince Edward Island will be going wireless, at least along the western half. The 5,600 square km tourist destination is home to the small city of Summerside and local WISP Wireless Island, which will be using Alvarion’s BreezeACCESS equipment to set up last mile Internet access to residences, public works, and businesses. Currently, the Summerside Community Network covers 1,000 square km, a size they expect to triple.—January 25, 2005

  • Enterprise remote access provider and hotspot aggregator Fiberlink has a new deal that will allow corporate customers to roam without extra fees on Connexion by Boeing’s in-flight wireless Internet access. Connexion has deals in place with Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Japan Airlines, ANA, Singapore Airlines, and China Airlines to make sure long-haul aircraft get the service.—January 25, 2005

    Week of January 17-21, 2005

  • Toshiba’s MyConnect service—which lets Toshiba customers get online at hotspots (using the GoRemote network, including dial-up and Ethernet connections, not just Wi-Fi)—now has its own software utility for log-ons. It’s free to download for anyone, and provides a 14-day trial. After that, the cost is $40 a month or $100 for three months.—January 21, 2005

  • The Port Authority of Spain’s Canary Islands has launched a hotzone for the Port of Las Palmas, which handles over 650,000 passengers and 17.7 million tons of cargo per year. The network was installed by integrator ITACA Canarias using equipment from Radionet, with satellite connections for backhaul.—January 21, 2005

  • The BBC—the Beeb to its friends—had an article out this week warning of what it calls “evil twins,” that is, fake “hotspots” posing as real hotspots to trick computers into automatically logging on—which computers are wont to do: if they’ve successfully logged on to a hotspot before, they’ll usually trust it the next time. From there, it’s no problem at all for the person controlling the evil twin to get data from your PC, or at least jam up your connection to the real hotspot. This is not a problem for those with more advanced security connections back to the home office, such as 802.1X authentication or VPN tunnels.—January 21, 2005

  • Hotspots are still young: a study by IDC says the market is still in its early stages, despite rapid growth. They expect over the next five years that commercial hotspots will increase in number at a 41% compound annual growth rate, numbering around 250,000 by the year 2008. (JiWire recently pegged the current number of hotspots worldwide at 50,000).—January 20, 2005

  • Doubletree Hotels is in the middle of a $300 million “product enhancement program” to update its properties. In an announcement today, the company said it’s in the final stage of making sure high-speed wireless Internet access is available in all common areas, including the lobbies, lounges and restaurants, and that secure guest printing services are available for both Ethernet and wireless devices. They expect to have that in all Doubletree locations by the end of spring. —January 20, 2005

  • The downtown area of Nassau in the Bahamas, from Arawak Cay to Heritage Village to the Water Tower and Fort Fincastle (and later from the Water Tower to the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island) will be getting a Wi-Fi network. The network, installed by Miami-based WISP Y-Tel, will be marketed specifically as allowing inexpensive VoWi-Fi international phone calls using phones from KBMP Communications. Y-Tel and KBMP will split running the network 50/50. Around 2 million tourists visit the area every year.—January 20, 2005

  • Another customer win for GPS Industries : the 200-acre Hawk’s Landing Golf Course at the Orlando World Center Marriott will be installing the company’s Inforemer Wi-Fi and positioning system combo designed specifically for golf course use. Inforemer will be used on 80 golf carts that will be equipped with 10.4-inch LCD screens suitable for Web surfing and other applications (like keeping track of golf scores).—January 20, 2005

  • As announced in mid-December and followed up on here, the city of Rio Rancho, N.M, is going wireless. Pricing was announced today: $20 a month for 256Kbps connections. There’s also per-day pricing, with speeds up to 4Mbps. Details are available through provider Azulstar Networks.—January 20, 2005

  • SBC’s FreedomLink Wi-Fi hotspot service is going on vacation. 85 California State Parks will be getting the service, which will bring wireless Internet access to every picnic table in range. The first to go live will be San Elijo State Beach near San Diego. The rest will go online over the next six months. Until April 15, anyone who’s a customer of SBC DSL can get access to any and all FreedomLink hotspots for free—after that, they’ll pay only $2 extra per month. Service for non-SBC customers will be $20 a month.—January 19, 2005
  • The Port of Bremerton in Washington State has entered a five-year contract to get high-speed wireless Internet access for the port community and surrounding area. It will consist of two hotzones centered in different port facilities, which will cover the 548 permanent slips and 148 guest slips there. The service will be provided by hometown company DONOBi , which uses Airpath on the back-end to handle customers—so other Airpath users will be able to roam onto the port’s network. —January 19, 2005

  • Wayport’s got 18 holes: the company will be the high-speed Internet provider to the 280-acre Legacy Golf Resort at the Dwight B. Heard ranch in Phoenix, Arizona. The resort has 328 guest suites that will all have Internet, plus Wi-Fi-based access in the lounges, lobby, and three meeting rooms. —January 18, 2005

  • The Dutch side of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin is going wireless. The deployment is one of the first in the new deal that has Lucent Technologies reselling mesh networking equipment from BelAir Networks; they did it in partnership with Sint Maarten International Telecommunications Services Limited (SMITCOMS). The network will be free for a time, but eventually guests will be asked to pay a usage fee. So far, the signal covers Frontstreet in downtown Philipsburg (on the Netherland Antilles side called Sint Maarten… the other side of the island is run by France), and the beach boardwalk. Plans call for eventual expansion, perhaps to cover the island’s entire 37 square miles. —January 18, 2005

  • Business India is reporting that the Bangalore-based Microsense has set up Wi-Fi hotspots in 50 cafés there, as well as in Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai, all located in coffee cafés called Café Coffee Day, a chain now found in 50 cities in India. Microsense expect to move up to 100 hotspots by March. It’s the first rollout of hotspots across the entire country of India, according to Microsense. Users will get access by prepaid or post-paid subscription fees. —January 18, 2005

  • Panera Bread says it has the largest network of free hotspots in the US, with 600 locations (both Panera Bread and St. Louis Bread Co.). Savvis Communications handles the connectivity; ICOA Corp.does the deployment, management and customer care of the Panera Wi-Fi solutions [Corrected on 1/18/05]. Panera hopes the free service will keep traffic up during off-peak (non-mealtime) hours. —January 18, 2005

  • Los Lunas, New Mexico (pop. 10,000), is the latest municipality to install Vivato panels to provide metro Wi-Fi. It will be used for “monitoring of municipal infrastructure, building permitting, emergency response, and public safety,” especially the latter, as the city is replacing its police radio dispatch with a computer-aided dispatch. Cops can look up data on laptops while in their patrol cars, and their location and status will be transmitted regularly. VoIP is also on the menu with Wi-Fi soft phones, and eventually, Wi-Fi-based handsets. —January 18, 2005

    Week of January 10-14, 2005

  • Atlanta’s Centennial Park is now a free hotspot—well, 75 percent of it is—courtesy of the city’s WISP 3rd Wave and tech consultant Ripple.—January 14, 2005

  • A new wireless hotspot directory/search engine has launched. Hotspot Haven includes listings from around the globe, totaling about 35,000 unique locations, including 3,300 free venues. The site also offers an off-line locator called SpotShadow. The Windows-only application is in beta and still showing only U.S. locations, but global locations will be offered in a new version soon.—January 14, 2005

  • Rhode Island’s ICOA, which runs hotspots around the U.S., has launched its 40th wireless service at a marina through its iDock division. The latest is the Almar Marinas’ Central Basin in the Port of Oakland. The company will expand the network coverage to the entire port by the end of this quarter.—January 14, 2005

  • The entire island of Mauritius—located on the Indian Ocean—is going wireless for broadband. Once only capable of dial-up Internet connections, the local service provider, ADB Networks, is using equipment from Navini Networks to provide a NLOS system that travels over the island’s mountainous terrain. Navini says using its patented equipment puts Mauritius in a good position for future upgrades to mobile broadband using 802.16e-based WiMax.—January 12, 2005

  • Hotspot tracker JiWire said today that the number of hotspots around the world now exceeds 50,000 unique locations. London is the city with the most (over 1,177 right now), then Tokyo, then New York, with over 800 each. There are still more hotel hotspots than any other kind of location—16,500, almost double the number found in cafés. Check out the JiWire top ten countries, cities and location types for more. By the way, JiWire predicts a 100% increase in hotspots over the next year.—January 12, 2005
  • Afraid you couldn’t blog while watching the inaugural motorcade going down Pennsylvania Avenue? Worry not. The non-profit Open Park Project will have free hotspot service all along the January 22nd parade route for the general public and press. The hotspot service, which covers Pershing Park on the north side of Penn Ave. between 14th and 15th Streets NW, is up and running now. The network was installed using donated mesh equipment from Tropos Networks.

    Speaking of Tropos, the company’s latest metro Wi-Fi project is going into the small city of Jamestown, N.Y., to provide wireless communications for first responders. Later, it may be opened up to city employees, such as those in public works. The network covers about two square miles of the downtown, and could expand to cover schools to increase security in those districts.—January 12, 2005

  • GPS Industries, which makes wireless systems specific to golf resorts, has another new customer, the Glynns Creek Golf Course in Long Grove, Iowa, owned and operated by the Scott County Conservation Board. The GPS Inforemer Wi-Fi extends all the way to the nearby Scott County’s Bald Eagle campground. Now 76 golf carts are running 10.4-inch screens that connect via Wi-Fi to the Internet.—January 12, 2005

  • Meru Networks’ equipment—around 1,100 access points, plus the equipment to centrally manage them— will been installed by the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine to provide wireless capabilities for all students, staff (including researchers and clinicians) and visitors. It will be used for data, voice and even video applications. The coverage will extend 2.5 million square feet and Meru says it is the “largest single channel deployment” of Wi-Fi done to date; using one channel means, in theory, faster hand-off for voice and security connections, no need for a major site survey ahead of time, and better load balancing of users between the APs installed. 1.5 square miles of the coverage will be outdoors, outside the Jackson Memorial Hospital, Cedars Medical Center and other Miami-based medical facilities. —January 11, 2005

  • SBC’s contract to put FreedomLink Wi-Fi service in Barnes & Noble bookstores includes even the new locations. Thus, the 28,000 square foot mega-store opening in the Milford Crossing Shopping Center in Milford, Conn., is no exception—and it’ll even have a Starbucks for coffee (but will it have T-Mobile Hotspot Wi-Fi? hmmmm…). FreedomLink costs $3.95 for two hours, or $19.95 per month with unlimited access at all 5,000 SBC Wi-Fi hotspots. —January 11, 2005

  • Hotspot provider Wayport, which has been offering a trial of digital magazines to its users for some time, is expanding its agreement with publication partners Zinio and Newsstand. Instead of just BusinessWeek, users can also try U.S. News and World Report, Business 2.0, PC Magazine, Popular Science, and Motor Trend in some locations, all from Zinio. Newsstand offers a number of digital newspapers, including the Washington Times, Boston Globe, Tampa Tribune, and many more—these will be in addition to the NY Times and USA Today digital editions that Wayport currently offers. All the new pubs will be available sometime this quarter. —January 11, 2005

  • Canadian WISP FatPort is happy to report that it has installed a hotspot in its 50th community, in the WhiteSpot restaurant in Squamish. This is part of a deal FatPort made with Whitespot to build out a network for its customers (FatPort is doing the same for the Mac’s Convenience chain). All told, the WISP operates 300 Canadian locations, and offers roaming in 4,000 others around the world. The company also offers VoIP service at these locations through its mobitus [sic] division.—January 10, 2005

  • The San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter, next to the historic Gaslamp District, has gone through a $45 million reconstruction after closing a year ago. All 306 guest rooms will feature not only 300-thread count bed linens, but also Wi-Fi connections as well. So will two boardrooms and two ballrooms found in the 8,000 square foot meeting space the hotel offers.—January 10, 2005

  • The Associated Press said this weekend that Dunkin’ Donuts is not only trying to offer healthier food as it expands westward, it will also be experimenting with Wi-Fi access in Chicago. It’s all part of the company’s strategy to stay competitive with places like Krispy Kreme and Starbucks—the latter of which offers for-fee Wi-Fi in almost every location in North America. No word on whether Dunkin’ is charging for wireless access or who they’re partnering with.—January 10, 2005

  • Aperto Networks says its 3.5GHz PacketWave equipment is powering the wireless broadband that provider Iberbanda is providing all across Spain, especially the coastal region and into the isolated valleys and ski resorts of the Pyrenees. It covers Seville and other Andalusian provinces in the south, and is going to be used in heavily populated areas like Madrid and Guadalajara.—January 10, 2005

    Week of January 3-7, 2005

  • Boingo Wireless has rather quietly released a software client ready to run on Apple Macintosh computers running OS X. Sign up and you get a free month of service before you start paying $22 a month. —January 7, 2005

  • Aerolina, a WISP serving the city of Charleston, is planning to expand its ThinkSpot network of hotspots throughout North and South Carolina. They will do so with support from ICOA’s QGo and AuthDirect divisions, which will provide all the back-office and managed services they need. —January 7, 2005

  • If you’ve got a vast digital library of photos and music and video and whatnot at home on your PC, how do you access it all when on the road? Boingo Wireless is proposing the answer: use their service to access that library, using another service called Orb. Orb Networks lets you sign up, designate your library and location, and access it from anywhere with an Internet connection. Hotspot aggregator Boingo is partnering with Orb to show that the 12,000 hotspots that are on the Boingo network are a good place to sit down and view or listen to your media while it is still stored safely at home. The two companies will do joint marketing and promotion of each others’ services. Boingo now costs $21.95 per month (with the first month free) for unlimited use. New Orb users can try it for free for two months—after that, it’s $10 a month. —January 6, 2005
  • A banner year for Tropos Networks: the maker of Wi-Fi-based mesh networking equipment says it has reached 125 installed metro-scale customers throughout the U.S. and as far away as Japan, Malaysia, Afghanistan, and Qatar. They expect “several hundred percent growth” in 2005, based on the number of proposals they’re already applying for. —January 6, 2005
  • Mill Run Golf and Country Club in Toronto, Ontario (Canada’s “largest golfing market”) is the latest course to install Wi-Fi and GPS services (called InForemer) from GPS Industries, and the first to be set up by its new distribution partner, Synergy Golf Solutions. 60 golf carts will carry the Informer 10.4-inch display for communications, and there will be handhelds for those who walk rather than ride. Wi-Fi will cover the entire facility, to be used by both club members and staff.—January 5, 2005
  • CNET says the city of West Hollywood, Calif., is looking to provide free municipal Wi-Fi. They plan to pick hardware and start building out from Santa Monica Boulevard by February. The plan is for citywide Wi-Fi in two years. —January 5, 2005
  • The 146-year-old Vermont State House in Montpelier, Vt.—home of the state’s General Assembly—is now a hotspot, one that is expected to grow from serving the legislators to covering the capitol city’s 8,000 denizens. The network is run by local cooperative MontpelierNet and ISP SoVerNet. The equipment was installed by Summit Technologies, and is controlled on the back end by Airpath Wireless’ WiBOSS Metro service. Airpath says this is, in fact, their tenth metro deployment— others include hotzones such as Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts, and cities like San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Antonio, Tempe, and Pittsburgh, plus more in Canada.—January 4, 2005
  • Cable broadband provider Charter Communications has entered a relationship with hotspot aggregator RemotePipes. Now Charter’s high-speed Internet access customers can go online wirelessly for free while on the road, assuming they’re at a hotspot using RemotePipe’s IP Roamer service. The company has about 3,000 Wi-Fi locations today in the U.S. and Canada and expects to more than double that this month to 10,000 and to 50,000 by the end of the year. IP Roamer currently offers access to a combo of 40,000 hotspots and dial-in POPs worldwide. Charter customers will get a co-branded version of the IP Roamer software, and all revenue for the service will be shared between Charter and RemotePipes.—January 3, 2005
  • The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority says Wi-Fi service is now available at the local international airport, courtesy of Cingular Wireless (through its merger with AT&T Wireless). The signal will be in all terminals and at all gates at a cost of $10 per day or $30 for five non-consecutive days in a six month period. Cingular also has Wi-Fi service in airports in Denver, Kansas City, Louisville, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco, plus Amtrak stations in the northeast corridor.—January 3, 2005
  • Sure, you could pay for your Wi-Fi connection in those airports, but one busy airfield —McCarran Aiport in Las Vegas— is announcing this week (according to eWeek) that it’s going to be offering totally free service across 1.7 million square feet. That’s 90 percent of the airport—just in time for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) taking place there this week (surely that’s a coincidence). McCarran is among the 15 busiest airports in the world, and supposedly the largest to offer free Wi-Fi. The network will be run on equipment from Aruba Networks.—January 3, 2005
  • Free isn’t just for airports. The Lenox Mall in Atlanta, Ga. is now also a free hotspot—at least the food court is— courtesy of Atlanta-based 3rd Wave, a company devoted to installing free Wi-Fi in its hometown, with 55 hotspots so far. The company offers businesses self-installation kits to put in hotspots, and says it has the infrastructure to handle hotspots outside of Atlanta.—January 3, 2005
  • The Business Journal of Phoenix says that downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe are all going to launch outdoor Wi-Fi networks. They’re all in different phases, however. The Downtown Phoenix Partnership, for example, is still doing research on turning the 90 square block area of Copper Square into a hotspot. Scottsdale is also researching, and expects to have service sometime in the next year. Tempe has been testing Wi-Fi for a while but is just getting to the point of going wide, and might have service in some areas by this month.—January 3, 2005
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