Date: Wednesday, September 15th, 2004, 10:16
Readers of these pages will remember our previous story about how Philadelphia was considering making the entire city the nation’s largest free wireless hotspot. Reuters is reporting that the plan is going forward and that a one mile area around the city’s fabled Love Park is already up and running.
You can imagine the excitement at PowerPage world headquarters, which is based just north of The City of Brotherly Love. Wow, first The Real World, now this.
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Philadelphia expanded free outdoor wireless Internet access on Tuesday as part of a multimillion-dollar plan to connect the entire city by early 2006.
It is the first major U.S. city to start a citywide wireless Internet project, although some smaller communities already have such networks, said Dianah Neff, a city spokeswoman and head of the wireless project.
The expansion offers Web access to users of WiFi-enabled computers and devices within a radius of about a mile from the first so-called hot spot — downtown’s Love Park, where the project originated earlier this year.
“It will have a huge impact on the perception of Philadelphia as a 21st-century city and a progressive place,” Mayor John Street told a news conference.
A city-led task force is talking with business groups and schools to expand the wireless area elsewhere in the city. It aims to complete its plan by early December and invite bids from Internet service providers and equipment suppliers by February next year, Neff said.
If suppliers sign contracts by early 2005, the citywide network could be operating within a year, Neff said. The estimated initial cost of the project is $7 million to $10 million.