Thursday, April 14, 2005

Minneapolis envisions citywide Wi-Fi

Minneapolis envisions citywide Wi-Fi: "Minneapolis is about to become an unwired city, creating a universal wireless Internet access network available to every citizen, visitor, business and municipal facility within city limits.
On Wednesday, the city will unveil a request for a proposal for a privately owned, $15 million to $20 million citywide wireless and fiber-optic network. It is likely to use the Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) technology that has created several hundred Internet access 'hot spots' for laptop computer users in metro coffee shops, bookstores, airports and hotels.
A contract for the wireless and fiber network should be signed later this year, with initial service likely to begin 12 months later and citywide service six to 12 months after that, Minneapolis officials said.
The citywide wireless network is necessary to improve government communications by linking every city building, police car and housing inspector to the city's databases, city officials say.
But the network also would be available to every individual and business in the city.
Consumers would be able to buy broadband access of 1 million to 3 million bits per second for $18 to $24 a month -- a bit slower than wired cable modem service but about half the price. The network also is expected to create an economic incentive for businesses to locate in Minneapolis."

I'd be more impressed if the plan were to make it freely available.
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