Hotspot Hits for March 12, 2004

  • Allstream (formerly AT&T Canada) of Toronto said this week that the city of Cumberland, Ontario will be the home of a new high-speed wireless Internet access and voice network, specifically targeting businesses, especially telecommuters and small offices. The network — part of a Multipoint Communications System (MCS) they’re building — is a joint venture with Microcell’s Inukshuk Internet and NR Communications. Each owns one-third of the network. Pricing starts at $59.95 a month for 2.1Mbps download speeds. Service can be bundled with Allstream’s global roaming service, which it has through a partnership with GRIC Communications . Allstream and partners have a similar MCS network in Richmond, British Columbia. — March 12, 2004

  • The San Jose Mercury News is reporting today that the city of San Jose will announce plans for free public Wi-Fi access downtown. The network will blanket three areas: Plaza de Cesar Chavez, the Circle of Palms, and San Pedro Square — all major gathering places. Service should be free for one year to anyone that wants to get Internet access. After that they’ll decide what to charge and where to expand the hot spots. The network will be run by Global Netoptex using Cisco equipment — both services and the hardware are being donated — and the city intends to monitor usage closely to see how much it’s used. — March 11, 2004

  • The city of Grand Haven, Michigan, has a 70 city block hotzone delivering 256Kbps download speeds for subscribers. The service is from Ottawa Wireless, a WISP headquartered in Grand Haven. They did a trial with Proxim dual-band (802.11a/b/g) and backhaul equipment for three months and are using it for the entire deployment, which they plan to have city-wide in the next three months. The network currently uses Proxim’s Tsunami MP.11a for wireless backhaul, but they say it was designed to move to faster WiMax equipment when it becomes available. Customers can extend range of the hotzone into their homes for an installation fee; outside the hotzone anyone with line-of-sight to a repeater tower can get access. Service even extends up to 20 miles out into Lake Michigan for boaters. — March 10, 2004

  • The European WeRoam service is adding hotspots from Monaco-based Tekworld to its footprint of hotspots. Tekworld’s locations include many in France, including airports like the Nice Ctte d’Azur Airport and Strasbourg Airport, plus harbors (such as Cannes) and marinas and country clubs. They also provide the ESCOTA service that travels along French highways. WeRoam is a service of TOGEWAnet, a WLAN integrator located in Berne, Switzerland, that lets users roam from hotspots to cellular GSM networks and back. — March 9, 2004

  • Portland, Ore.-based WISP and system integrator Matrix Networks is continuing to roll out new locations for its Guest Wireless Internet Service (G-WIS). The latest is the Columbia Edgewater Country Club found along the Oregon side of the Columbia River. The service, which is free to club members and guests, is available in the two restaurants and meeting areas of the club. — March 8, 2004

  • Late last month, the city council of Hermosa Beach, Calif., pushed ahead with plans for a “Free Citywide Wireless Broadband Program” using antennas that will be found throughout the 1.3 square mile city. The program will provide 802.11g/b-based service to 20,000 residents to get access to the Internet. About one third of the city will have coverage by April. The city has current high-speed T1 lines in place and will install more for Internet backhaul as needed; the city’s partner is this is system integrator LA Unplugged. The hotzone is the brainchild of the city’s mayor, who also runs a local bakery/café which has had a free hotspot for the past two years. — March 8, 2004

  • As announced in December 2003, as of this week T-Mobile’s Hotspots are officially a part of the iPass network. Starting today, the iPassConnect client software’s “phonebook” of hotspots will include 7,800 wireless T-Mobile locations such as Starbucks Coffee Shops, Borders Books & Music Cafés, Kinko’s, and many airport lounges; it also adds 1,400 high-speed wired locations. iPass says the addition doubles the number of venues in its virtual network. iPass has also signed on with hotspot directory JiWire to create a private labeled “iPass Broadband Finder.”

    Since iPass had a big announcement, must be time for competitor GRIC Communications to put out a press release as well. The company said today that it has “access rights” to 10,000 locations, both Wi-Fi and Ethernet, for the GRIC TierOne network around the world. Access rights also means “under contract” — meaning not all of these locations are part of the GRIC virtual network yet, and might not even be built yet. — March 8, 2004

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