Hotspotzz, HP Provide Wi-Fi at Sundance

By Eric Griffith

January 17, 2003

The downtown area of Park City, UT, is blanketed with free 802.11b-based Internet access for the producers, directors, stars and moguls attending Robert Redford's annual film festival.

Movie people need Wi-Fi, too.

That's why Salt Lake City, UT-based Hotspotzz, a division of IKANO Communications (the folks behind the Internet services at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games) will be making sure the wireless access is in place for the downtown denizens of Park City, UT in time for the annual Sundance Film Festival.

The annual festival of independent film makers hoping for a break, studios looking to buy their films, and stars both big and unheard of, was founded by actor/director Robert Redford. It is currently under way through January 26. Access during the duration of the festival is free to all users with an 802.11b-enabled laptop with DHCP turned on so the computer can receive an IP address automatically. The SSID of the network is "hotspotzz" if the wireless card can't automatically detect it.

The company will have personal on hand at the areas of Main Street, Prospector Square and Kimball Junction in Park City, where the access points are located, to hand out flyers and help with access problems.

IKANO isn't the only company on hand providing Wi-Fi access -- in fact, they're not even the officially sanctioned hotspot provider for the festival. Sundance has a deal with HP Wireless Hot Spot Zone, located in the Sundance House at the Kimball Art Center and the Sundance Digital Center, both on Main Street. The HP network uses an SSID of "sundance" and organizers recommend users implement DHCP to obtain an IP address. Once connected, opening a Web browser will take you to HP's BBSM server splash page which will lead out to the Internet. This service will also be free to attendees.

Last year, HP was also on hand at Sundance, providing 500 Jornada PocketPCs to VIPs and staff with wireless Internet access; the network for 2002 was run by FluxNetwork using Symbol Technologies equipment.

Also on hand with wireless if you want coffee to go with is the Alpine Internet Cybercafe, at the bottom of Main Street. As part of their regular services, however, Alpine charges $10 per hour for all Internet access whether on their terminals or your own laptop.

Back in August, IKANO bought out the WiFi Metro wireless ISP service owned by former hotspot darling hereUare. WiFi Metro had 40 public access points in San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago and was known for areas called 'hotzones' that would blanket entire city neighborhoods with an 802.11-based 'cloud' for public access, areas that were used in part to launch the Hotspotzz brand.

Hotspotzz now runs over 110 wireless venues in the cities above as well as Los Angeles, San Diego, and Boston.

The usual cost for accessing a Hotspotzz hotspot range from $2.95 per hour (offered using a one time use scratch card, also available in 4- and 24-hour versions) to $19.95 per month for subscribers. Subscribers can also use Hotspotzz dial-up service.

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