Boston Ranks High in "Unwired Cities" Survey

By Wi-Fi Planet Staff

June 02, 2003

When 802.11 Planet Conference & Expo attendees arrive in the Hub, they'll be in one of the most WiFi-friendly cities in America.

When attendees arrive in Boston for 802.11 Planet Conference & Expo, they'll be in the 10th "most unwired" city in America, according to a recent survey by Intel.

The chip maker, which is currently making its own Wi-Fi push, used the number of public and commercial hotspots, cell phone coverage offering wide area network Internet access, and Internet penetration to rank the top 100 cities. The data was also calculated at the per capita level to determine how many people share hotspots within an area.

"When you think about the number of colleges in Boston and Cambridge and the number of technology companies within Route 128, the ranking isn't that surprising," said Tim Wagner, chairman of the Boston Mobile Forum, a year-old industry group.

Portland, Ore./Vancouver, Wash., area grabbed the top spot in Intel's survey, followed by San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Orange County, Calif., Washington, D.C., San Diego, Denver and Ventura. Other Massachusetts cities appearing in Intel's top 100 as well, including Worcester (24), Springfield (52) and Fall River (including Providence and Warwick, R.I.)

Wagner expects Boston to move up the list in coming year because of user interest. Hotels are already being asked by prospective customers if there is a hotspot in the building so they can connect to the Internet via their lap-top, hand held device or phone, Wagner said.

"People are asking for it now but will demand it in the short-term," Wagner said.

Some have already set up their own Wi-Fi networks, including the Seaport Hotel. The hotel has extended its wireless access from its lobby to the World Trade Center's 250,000 square feet of meeting rooms and exhibition halls, the home of the 802.11 Planet Conference and Expo. See for additional Boston access points.

In watching Intel's list for next year, expect New York, which finished in the 23rd spot, to jump up thanks to Verizon's Wi-Fi push. The service provider plans to establish 1,000 hotspots (most at pay phone sites) by year's end.

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