Wi-Fi Cities

News.com writes about Amsterdam:

Amsterdam’s Web surfers could soon be liberated from their home computers and Internet cafes, as a start-up company plans to make their city the first European capital where laptops can hook up anywhere to the Web.

HotSpot Amsterdam launched a wireless computer network on Monday with a supercharged version of the Wi-Fi technology that is used to turn homes, airports, hotels and cafes into Web-connected “hot spots.”

The first seven base stations are up and running, connecting historic areas that date back to the 13th century, and the entire city center will be covered by 40 to 60 antennas within three months, HotSpot Amsterdam founder Carl Harper said.

“We’ll go on to cover all of Amsterdam with 125 base stations. The idea is to prove to the big boys that it can be done and that consumers can live with a mobile phone and mobile Internet. The landline is dead,” he said. Many computer makers build Wi-Fi chips and access cards into their products.

HotSpot Amsterdam charges 4.95 euros ($5.98) a day or 14.95 euros a month for a connection of 256 kilobits per second–equivalent in price and speed to a low-end home broadband connection–while 24.95 euros a month will buy a connection twice that fast.

HotSpot Amsterdam estimates it will invest around 200,000 euros (about $240,000) for the initial network covering Amsterdam’s city center and a handful of surrounding areas.

CNN writes about Philadelphia’s plans to invest $10 million to convert all its 135 sq miles into one large hotspot:

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.

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.

This is exactly what Indian cities need.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.