[LACNIC/Politicas] Cleveland - conectividad como bien publico

Carlos Afonso ca at rits.org.br
Fri Sep 3 21:47:33 BRT 2004

CNN online 1-set-2004:

Philadelphia mulls wireless society
Plan involves placing transmitters on lampposts


PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AP) -- For about $10 million, city officials 
believe they can turn all 135 square miles of Philadelphia into the world's 
largest wireless Internet hot spot.

The ambitious plan, now in the works, would involve placing hundreds, or maybe 
thousands of small transmitters around the city -- probably atop lampposts. 
Each would be capable of communicating with the wireless networking cards 
that now come standard with many computers.

Once complete, the network would deliver broadband Internet almost anywhere 
radio waves can travel -- including poor neighborhoods where high-speed 
Internet access is now rare.

And the city would likely offer the service either for free, or at costs far 
lower than the $35 to $60 a month charged by commercial providers, said the 
city's chief information officer, Dianah Neff.

"If you're out on your front porch with a laptop, you could dial in, register 
at no charge, and be able to access a high speed connection," Neff said. 
"It's a technology whose time is here."

If the plan becomes a reality, Philadelphia could leap to the forefront of a 
growing number of cities that have contemplated offering wireless Internet 
service to residents, workers and guests.

Chaska, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, began offering citywide wireless 
Internet access this year for $16 a month. The signal covers about 13 square 

Corpus Christi, Texas, has been experimenting with a system covering 20 square 
miles that would initially be used only by government employees.

Over the past year, Cleveland has added some 4,000 wireless transmitters in 
its University Circle, Midtown and Lakefront districts. The service is free, 
and available to anyone who passes through the areas.

"We like to say it should be like the air you breathe -- free and available 
everywhere," said Lev Gonick, chief information officer at Case Western 
Reserve University, which is spearheading the project and paying for a chunk 
of it. "We look at this like PBS or NPR. It should be a public resource."

In New York, city officials are negotiating to sell wireless carriers space on 
18,000 lampposts for as much as $21.6 million annually. T-Mobile USA Inc., 
Nextel Partners Inc., IDT Corp. and three other wireless carriers want the 
equipment to increase their networks' capacity.

Wireless technology has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years and 
become drastically less expensive.

The new "wireless mesh" technology under consideration in Philadelphia has 
made it possible to expand those similar networks over entire neighborhoods, 
with the help of relatively cheap antennas.

Neff estimated it would cost about $10 million to pay for the initial 
infrastructure for the system, plus $1.5 million a year to maintain.

Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street, a technology buff who carries a wireless 
handheld computer everywhere he goes, appointed a 14-member committee last 
week to work out the specifics of his city's plan, including any fees, or 
restrictions on its use.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not 
be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Carlos A. Afonso
diretor de planejamento e estratégia
Rede de Informações para o Terceiro Setor - Rits
Rua Guilhermina Guinle 272 - sexto andar
22270-060 Rio de Janeiro BRASIL
tel +55-21-2527-5494
fax +55-21-2527-5460

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