Hotspot Hits for Week of August 6, 2004

  • The summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece may not have any officially sanctioned wireless for use, but there’s going to be plenty of Wi-Fi connections around the town anyway. The latest is a deal that lets Boingo
    subscribers get access at locations run by OTEnet S.A., a leading ISP in Greece. Boingo says locations include the Athens Airport, Macedonia International Airport, and several conference centers in the country. OTEnet’s hotspots are called OnWireless hotspots, and can be used by non-subscribers for $7.95 per day. — August 6, 2004

  • The Boston Globe is reporting that a startup company on Nantucket called Wi-Blast is planning to make the well-known island into one big hotzone covering 800 acres. The service will be called ACKblast, named after the three-letter code for the Nantucket airport. Wi-Blast would use mesh networking equipment from Tropos Networks to set up the service, with back end subscriber services from AirPath Wireless (so ACKblast subscribers will be able to use other AirPath powered hotspots without charge). No pricing is yet in place for ACKblast. The town council is reviewing the plan now, which may not see approval for four to eight weeks. There are already several hotspots on the island, including at the Nantucket Island Resorts. — August 4, 2004
  • Toshiba has announced pricing for its MyConnect ISP service for users of Toshiba products (which will take advantage of GoRemote partner locations for Wi-Fi connections): $39.95 for unlimited access. That’s it. Dial-up users can use an 800 number, but it costs $4.95 per hour. — August 4, 2004
  • Maybe they should have charged for the Wi-Fi. Schlotzky’s Deli chain of restaurants, which made some noise a while back about being one of the first chains to offer free wireless Internet access to customers (gleefully thumbing its nose at T-Mobile/Starbucks), has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Operations are supposed to continue as normal during financial restructuring. — August 4, 2004
  • Boingo Wireless has expanded its roaming relationship with ICOA so that all six of the regional airports run by ICOA’s Airport Network Solutions (ANS) will be part of the Boingo footprint of sites. This means in addition to the Sacramento, Savannah and Baton Rouge airports, Boingo users can now go online at Spokane, Wash. International Airport; the Greater Baton Rouge, La. Airport; Sacramento International Airport; Manchester, N.H. Airport; Savannah/Hilton Head, Ga. International Airport; and Fresno-Yosemite, Calif. International Airport. Boingo says this gives them coverage in 75 total airports worldwide. — August 4, 2004

  • BelAir Networks is the mesh equipment provider, and Cheetah Wireless Technologies the service provider, behind a new municipal installation of Wi-Fi in Encinitas, Calif. The service, to be promoted by the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association (DEMA), will cover the downtown area covering 18 square city blocks. Residents can get a one year contract and pay $29.99 a month for unlimited service; businesses pay $39.99 a month. They can use the service in any location where the signal will reach. Service will be active in September. — August 4, 2004

  • Panera Bread Company says it is committed to opening the largest free hotspot network in the United States. They currently have 325 locations in 27 states, and plan to go to 375 by the end of this year, with 500 total by the summer of 2005. The company runs 637 bakery-cafés under the names Panera Bread and Saint Louis Bread Co., and will open as many as 150 more locations (some with Wi-Fi service) by the end of the year. Its hotspot locations are listed online. The network is operated by ICOA . — August 3, 2004
  • Research firm In-Stat/MDR released a new report today saying the market for hotel broadband connections, including Wi-Fi, has gone from being rocky to stable. They forecast that 25,828 motels/hotels worldwide will have high-speed Internet access (HSIA) by 2008. Wireless LAN technology is listed as the most “significant trend” driving this. Wi-Fi connections, In-Stat says, are going to be pushed toward guest rooms more this year — last year, wireless went mainstream, but only in public areas and meeting rooms. According to Amy Cravens, a senior In-Stat analyst, “Hotels see broadband now as an essential element of the guest room — along with a bed, telephone, and TV, there must be broadband access.” — August 3, 2004
  • The Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in New Zealand has launched a campus-wide hotzone. Installation is courtesy of WISP Reach Wireless, using equipment from RoamAD. The network is open to anyone on campus, not just the faculty/staff/students, though that group gets a discounted rate of $16.95 NZ per month at speeds of 24Mbps. The companies say they designed and deployed the entire network in less than one week. — August 3, 2004
  • RoomLinX, which provides HSIA to hotels, has been picked as the service provider of choice by The Sagamore in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. The first phase of deployment will cover 110 rooms in the resort’s Historic Hotel and The Hermitage. This fall’s second phase will complete coverage of 350 guest rooms, including in the Lodges. — August 3, 2004
  • MeshNetworks has added another city to its growing roster of wireless municipalities. Cocoa Beach, Florida, situated between the Kennedy Space Center and Patrick Air Force Base, will be using the company’s architecture to support the city police in a six square mile area. Police cruisers now have access to the Florida and National Criminal Information Centers (FCIC and NCIC), DMV, and other public safety systems while on the road. — August 3, 2004
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