Going Wireless: Six-Block "HotZone" Launched in Palo Alto

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Date: Wednesday, March 20th, 2002, 10:46
Category: Archive

Now, sitting at a park bench, snacking on bagels and juice with local college students, or waiting for a CalTrain commuter train in downtown Palo Alto you can pop out your Airport-equipped computer and enjoy high-speed Internet access via 802.11b at up to 200x the speed of dialup. IT provider, ISP, and wireless company Gatespeed Broadband and wireless ISP WiFi Metro yesterday announced the launch of the wireless “HotZone,” which they will co-manage. Free trial passes from WiFi Metro are available for a limited time for those of you lucky enough to be in Palo Alto.

I spoke with WiFi Metro in January about their new coalition to create roaming across wireless providers. Since then, I’ve been testing the roaming capabilities at VoiceStream’s MobileStar access points in NYC area Starbucks. Access has been flawless, terrific both when I’m on the road and (sadly) even near home when I want to transfer large files since I am one the “broadband free.” As WiFi Metro points out, 11 Mbps is much better than 3G’s paltry 114kbps. I’m happy checking e-mail via my phone’s current capabilities, but if I want the real Internet, I want broadband, and I think I’m not alone: if WiFi Metro can make the economics of their expansion work and VoiceStream can correct MobileStar’s previous missteps, these large “wireless ISPs” have a bright future.

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