Hotspot Hits for December, 2004
December 24, 2004
Hot news in Hotspots: Washington D.C.'s downtown wireless to expand; EZ Lube locations will provide Wi-Fi for waiting customers; Texas state parks offer Internet access; and much more.
Week of December 20-24, 2004
Week of December 13-17, 2004
. —December 13, 2004
SBC FreedomLink will be moving into several new locations: the company has a deal to install the hotspot service in 144 Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf locations in California, Arizona, and Nevada. They expect all the venues to be unwired by early 2005, with some live before the end of this year. Service is $19.95 a month for unlimited access at all FreedomLink locations, or $3.95 per day.—December 13, 2004 BT OpenZone is now an open zone for subscribers of the iPassservice. BT's 1,500 hotspots throughout the UK in everything from airports to rail stations to hotels and beyond will join the iPass Global Broadband Roaming network. iPass says this gives the company access to 12,554 active hotspots in 46 different countries around the globe.—December 13, 2004 All 25 buildings on the campus of South Carolina's Charleston Southern University have been connected using a new wireless network powered by equipment from Proxim. In 2001, the school first installed APs in dorms, and included a Proxim Wi-Fi PC Card as part of the residence hall package for its 3,000 students. The success of that program led to installing the network campus-wide. An under-construction science building will also be outfitted with Proxim AP-700 units for next year, and outdoor hotspots are in the offing for common areas.—December 13, 2004 The battle for what town has the biggest big-city Wi-Fi network continues, and it looks like Atlanta is in the lead. MSNBC says the city hall is ready to launch, and by March other downtown and airport areas will be live. It will evolve from there. The city isn't putting this in themselves, though. While it's labeled "Atlanta FastPass," the network is being installed by Biltmore Communications, and they even link in other third-party hotspots, including those on the Georgia Tech and Georgia State campuses, to create the overall network.—December 13, 2004 MuniWireless.com is reporting that the city of Madison, Wis., is going to put in a citywide Wi-Fi cloud that will cover the city, the airport, and other municipalities. They're currently looking for proposals from vendors. Wisconsin, however, is one of the states now with a law on the books restricting towns from competing with telecom companies, but there are some loopholes, such as not providing service directly to users—instead, the city could allow multiple providers to use whatever network they install. —December 13, 2004 Some locations with citywide Wi-Fi networks will soon be getting the benefits of voice over that wireless. Ecuity has teamed up with Azulstar Networks (a division of Ottawa Wireless) to be the primary VoIP provider in the cities of Rio Rancho, N.M., and Grand Haven, Mich. Both should get access to voice services sometime in 2005.—December 13, 2004
Week of December 6-10, 2004
Palm Springs International Airport joins the FreedomLink network run by SBC this week. There are six hotspots at the airport, installed by local payphone provider Q3 Telecom. Service is free until April 15 of next year to SBC DSL customers, then goes to $1.99 a month. Regular FreedomLink subscribers pay $19.95 per month for unlimited access to all of the network's locations. Day trippers can try it for $7.95. SBC also runs hotspots at Bob Hope International Airport in Burbank, Evansville-Vanderburgh Airport in Evansville, Ind., Cleveland International, Little Rock National, and Northwest Arkansas Regional. —- December 10, 2004 Latest partner for Connexion by Boeing is Vodafone, which plans to start a trial this month on Lufthansa flights. If it all works out, Vodafone customers will get to roam onto flights using Connexion, and have the billing appear on their Vodafone account.—Friday, December 10, 2004 The Seattle Times says that Wi-Fi on the various passenger ferries in the Puget Sound area will be taking off soon, adding the Edmonds-Kingston route soon and the Seattle-Bainbridge Island route by the end of the month (it's already live on the Townsend-Keystone run). However, due to the inability to get antenna rights out on Blake Island, the Seattle-Bremerton ferry—the longest route—won't get any Wi-Fi. The service will be free for a few months to trial it, and if it works out, the ferry service will pass administration on to a third party which might be able to get the rights on Blake Island. Or, then again, it might not.—December 10, 2004 Kista Mobile Showcase is apparently a citywide showcase of just what mobile wireless can provide. It's located in Kista Science City, outside Stockholm. The network consists of 110 access points covering areas like the Gallerian shopping mall, IT University campus, Kista Science Tower, and others. Visitors get a Wi-Fi device, and the showcase uses location tracking to serve up info depending on where they are—you get menus when near restaurants, timetables when near the train station, etc.—December 9, 2004 TowerStream continues to deploy in big cities. The pre-WiMax fixed wireless broadband provider says it has secured space on the top of downtown Chicago's John Hancock Center. Combined with their presence on the Aon Center and elsewhere, this gives them "a wireless ring high above the city's skyline," the company says. TowerStream also has service installed in other big cities, including New York, Boston, Providence/Newport, and Los Angeles. —December 9, 2004 Wi-Fi Networking News is reporting that Truckstop.net's Wi-Fi service has, apparently, stopped. The network of hotspots at highway truck stops was powered by Sprint, but reports from Omaha World Herald say that Sprint cut off service after Truckstop.net filed a lawsuit claiming the equipment doesn't work properly. The court paperwork says Truckstop.net went from 45,000 subscribers down to 6,000 due to inconsistent connections—this after it paid $6 million to Sprint. Sprint says it can't replicate the problems.
Truckstop.net has to wait for a court ruling before it can contract with another provider. Some truck stop venues are going directly to Sprint, asking to get service turned back on.
Meanwhile, Flying J, which operates its own truck stops and runs a Wi-Fi service out of them, says it will let truckers use the balance of what they are owed by Truckstop.net—some paid for a year in advance—to get access through the Flying J TON service, which has 285 active hotspots. —December 8, 2004
Connexion by Boeing spelled out its current service offerings in an announcement today. Basically, Lufthansa has flights from Munich to Charlotte, Tehran, Tokyo, and Los Angeles, plus another from Frankfurt to Denver, all in service. All Nippon Airways has service between Tokyo and Shanghai. Coming this week on Japan Airlines will be the Tokyo to London flight (basically, you can't go too wrong out of Tokyo), and next week, Lufthansa adds Munich to Miami and San Francisco. Scandinavian Airlines has various routes out of Copenhagen. This isn't counting recent announcements of future partnerships like the one announced yesterday with Singapore Air.—December 8, 2004 America West Airlinessays that three of its America West Clubs in the Phoenix, Ariz., Sky Harbor International Airport have been set up with hotspots as a club member amenity. —December 8, 2004 A faster Sprint is coming—they've renewed a contract with Nortel Networks to get updated equipment across their current Nortel-powered footprint that would include 3G wireless and potentially CDMA2000 1xEV-DO technology in key markets. The company is shooting to have it in several areas by 2005. The contract is worth $1 billion over the next three years. —December 7, 2004 SMC Networks is shipping new hardware for hotspot owners. The EliteConnect 2.4GHz 802.11g wireless Hotspot Gateway Kit includes AAA services on a router with SPI firewall, and comes with a point-of-sale (POS) ticket printer and a DSL/Cable modem gateway. The package sells for $900. Wireless School Days:
- Chantry Networks' BeaconWorks equipment is powering the entire WLAN of Colorado's Adams 12 Five Star School District, which has 36,000 students, staff and faculty across 47 schools. Not only do they use it for wireless Internet connections in classrooms and labs, the lunch ladies use it to do POS debit transactions in the cafeteria.
- Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., is using Proxim APs and a Tsunami long-distance radio (to connect with off-site offices) to cover its campus of 3,500 potential users. Local service provider Conterra deployed the network.
- Trapeze Networks says that Institut Le Rosey, Switzerland's oldest private school, will be using its Mobility Points and Switches to unwire the school's campus in Rolle where students meet in spring and autumn, and also for winter classes held near the ski resort in Gstaad—where skiing is required. Those poor students. The network, installed by Telecom Systems, will be used mainly for surfing, however, which is much safer. —December 7, 2004
If you're visiting the Dubai International Film Festival as press, guest, or moviegoer, look for the wireless network. It's being provided by Single Digits. Hotspots in the area will have extra information for those attendees that log on, so they can find all the movies on the schedule as well as extra information on the city of Dubai. —December 7, 2004 Singapore Airlines has signed an agreement to offer Connexion by Boeing in-flight Wi-Fi. It will use the network to bring "live international TV on board, beamed through Connexion by Boeing to the passengers' laptops" by mid-2005 (starting with news channels, later adding sports) in addition to the usual e-mail and Web surfing. Internet pricing will be $30 for six+ hour flights, $20 for three to six hours, and $15 for less than three hours. —December 7, 2004 The Charlotte Arena, future home of the NBA's Bobcats and the WBNA's Sting, is using an in-building wireless system from InnerWireless to cover the 780,000 square foot building with signals for Wi-Fi and cellular, shooting for (get it?) no dead spots. The teams plan to offer fans such applications as ordering food and drinks on PDAs, Web surfing, and video instant replays on screen while in their seats. The wireless will also let the arena staff handle building controls such as temperature, lighting, and security. News media will be able to use the network to file stories while covering events in real time. —December 7, 2004 The Princess Cruise Line—that's right, the Love Boat!—now offers wireless hotspots on all 14 vessels. Access is 35 cents per minute. Some of the ships, including the Sun Princess, Dawn Princess and Regal Princess, have installed Internet Cafés, so if you don't have a Wi-Fi device, they'll give you some access. The networks are installed with V-Link Solutions as integrator.—December 7, 2004