Hotspots being established throughout Prague

The beautiful city of Prague in the Czech Republic is taking steps to bring wireless internet access to its residents.

As of now, plans to develop and deploy a citywide wireless network won't be coming to fruition until sometime in 2008. However, Irish company Anacapa will be offering a system for cafes and hotels and other facilities to provide a free, ad-supported wireless service to customers. The first hotspot will be up and running later next week, with a few hundred more to be established over the course of the year.

Obviously, one may surmise that residents would want the opportunity to connect to the internet from virtually any location within a municipality, but until Prague (or any other city) can get its act together to form a network, giving outside vendors the opportunity to assist others in accessing the wireless web is a smart way of going about it.

Sprint Nextel gives details on initial WiMAX rollouts

When Sprint Nextel stated last year that it had chosen WiMAX as its next-gen wireless network (4G), many were excited by the proposition. Well, it's 2007 and the carrier has unveiled the first markets that will get the service -- Chicago and Washington, D.C..

If you're lucky enough to live in either of those cities, you'll be getting Sprint Nextel's WiMAX network first. It's expected that Sprint Nextel will be covering 100 million people by the end of 2008 -- but for us still stuck in 2007, the Windy City and the nation's capital will see some fast, mobile data speeds soon.

The timing? Well, Sprint hints that both networks will be operational by the end of 2007 -- roughly 11 months from now I'd guess (or sooner). As just announced last week, Nokia will provide the network equipment for the WiMAX networks and Motorola will be developing chip sets for devices. Other equipment vendors like Samsung and LG have also committed.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

We're taking a bit of a break to be with our loved ones over the holiday, and we hope you are too. A very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you, and we'd like to pass along a heartfelt "Thank You" for your readership. We'll be back posting again tomorrow once we can burn off some of the egg nog!

TWR's Top 5

We've made it through another week here at The Wireless Report, and we proudly serve you five of our tastiest nuggets. Enjoy!

  1. Contract near for EarthLink/Google wireless network for San Francisco
    After what seemed like an endless period of negotiations, it looks like a contract between EarthLink and Google and the city of San Francisco to develop and deploy a wireless network is about set to be completed.
  2. Panoramic photos coming to cameraphones soon
    Ever wish you could take a nice and wide photo with your cellphone's camera that would look great on a computer screen? Scalado has just launched a software package for camera phones which enables them to take wide panorama photos by stitching together several photos in sequence.
  3. Newton, Mass. alderman makes plea for city's mayor to approve WiFi plan
    Ken Parker, a Newton, Massachusetts alderman, has written an editorial asking for residents to contact the city's mayor to approve a plan to develop and deploy a citywide wireless network. The deadline to approve the plan that Mr. Parker assisted in developing is midnight on December 31, so if citizens want their voices heard either way, they should take the time to do a little research and then contact city officials and make their opinions known.
  4. Adult wireless content to reach fever pitch soon
    Although American wireless carriers will continue to keep adult content at certain reaches from their customers for the foreseeable future, Juniper Research says that European mobile users will help the mobile adult content market grow from $1.6 billion this year to more than $3.3 billion by 2011.
  5. Houston wireless network bid down to two finalists
    It's down to two companies who are slugging it out to win the bid to develop and deploy Houston's citywide wireless network, which is expected to cost over $40 million and cover 600 square miles by the time it is completed in 2008.

Hotspots heating up in Russia

A new report from J'son&Partners says that the number of public hotspots in Russia will increase to 7,000 by the end of the year and to 13,000 by 2010. Golden Telecom, a domestic telecom services provider, is one of the major operators of the hotspots.

It goes without saying that Russia is one of the great untapped markets for wireless services. We don't read or hear much about wireless technology in the country, but reports like this will likely spur providers to get their foot in the door there.

So far, so good for WiFi Pittsburgh

Despite a few kinks here and there, it appears the WiFi Pittsburgh service in the city's downtown area has been fairly successful since its launch in September. Users can log on to the network as many times as they want for free as long as their total usage is under two hours. After that, it'll cost you.

The writer of this story tested the service at a number of locations within the area, and it seemed she was able to get a reasonably fast connection virtually anywhere she logged on. There are currently 60 access points within the Golden Triangle, so the service's users are not far from a hotspot. So far, this limited launch of WiFi Pittsburgh is gaining more users over time, and it'll be interesting to see if this concept will stretch throughout the entire city.

WiMax network to be established in downtown Manchester, N.H.

Town officials in Manchester, N.H. are looking to establish a WiMax network in the downtown area by the end of the month to enhance wireless access within the area.

The downtown area has had hotspots there since 2004, however there have been instances of service interruptions over that time, so the city has decided to take the next step and launch a WiMax network which should provide wireless access to the now-current dead zones.

TWR's Top 5

As Thanksgiving lurks around the corner, here are our Top 5 stories of this past week that'll keep you full until the sweet potatoes are ready. Enjoy!

  1. Wisconsin police department to work with wireless robot
    "Excuse me, I have to go. Somewhere there is a crime happening." While this may not be as dramatic as Robocop, the Waukesha (Wisconsin) Police Department is in the process of implementing a wireless robot in certain tactical situations.
  2. Rollouts of new 3G high-speed wireless networks becoming quite a contest
    Seems like there is quite a contest going on with the top-3 wireless carriers in the U.S. -- all of which are launching higher-speed 3G networks
    as each tries to wrestle the consumer crown -- or the business user crown most likely -- and firmly plant itself as the de-facto high-speed wireless king of the airwaves.
  3. "Le WiFI" seeking to take hold in Paris
    OK, OK, there some of us out there who have had issues with France and the French people. But let's put that aside and focus on the fact that the mayor of Paris, France, Bertrand Delanoe, is another big city government official who is championing the concept of bringing WiFi to their municipality.
  4. 2,000 wireless videos now available to millions of subscribers
    Research firm Telephia now says that 2,000 mobile video selections
    are available to Cingular, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless subscribers. Everything from ESPN to AccuWeather to current movie previews are available to mobile subscribers now.
  5. Another provider gets into the NYC WiFi act
    Although a plan to develop and deploy a wireless network throughout New York City is in the earliest of discussion stage, other companies are looking to provide service to various parts of the city in the meantime.

"Le WiFi" seeking to take hold in Paris

OK, OK, there some of us out there who have had issues with France and the French people. But let's put that aside and focus on the fact that the mayor of Paris, France, Bertrand Delanoe, is another big city government official who is championing the concept of bringing WiFi to their municipality.

Most of us wouldn't think of the City of Lights as a technology center, but Delanoe wants to change that by promoting "le WiFi"(or as the French pronounce it, "wee fee") in order to attract younger people and business to the area.

Delanoe said his goal is to launch 400 free hotspots throughout the city. Will his plan succeed? We'll know soon enough...

Newcastle going wireless

Add another English city to the list of European municipalities that are going wireless.

In this case, Newcastle city officials have sinted an agreement with BT as part of its Wireless Cities program to develop and deploy a wireless network that will be accessible to all who wish to use it. The goal is to have the network up and running by this coming March.

Plans call for equipment to be installed on street fixtures and lamp posts in the city center.

TWR's Top 5

As we put the cap on another busy week here at The Wireless Report, we ask that you take a glance at our Top 5 stories from the past seven days before we shelve them and get ready for another week of wireless news and information. Enjoy!

  1. Have vehicle, surf web
    Many folks like me can't get enough of the web. We surf the web at home, at work, at the airport, on vacation, and on and on. But there is still one place where most of us haven't tried to surf the web yet--until now.
  2. Astrology dictates mobile phone love usage
    I wonder if the global wireless providers look at subscriber birthdates and group customers into astrological signs in order to predict revenue levels? They should, according to Virgin Mobile UK, which recently conducted some research which it claims is rather revealing in the way in which your astrological sign impacts upon the way you use your mobile phones.
  3. What's on your wireless holiday shopping list?
    As I'm sure you are quite aware, the holiday season is just around the corner. (In my family, I think it started the day after Halloween.)
  4. Can RFID e-Passports be hacked?
    With newer international passports being enabled with RFID technology, can these systems be hacked and compromised easily? There are some that say any electronic representation that communications beyond its own chips can be hacked given enough patience and persistence. When it comes to electronic passports, though, that is a scary potential situation.
  5. Despite growth of smartphones, many of us still carry more than one wireless device
    Despite the proliferation of smartphones and other wireless devices that can do it all--telephone, e-mail, web browser, camera, text messaging, streaming video, downloading of music, and so on--it seems that many of us have more than one device to perform one or more of these applications.

Have vehicle, surf web

Many folks like me can't get enough of the web. We surf the web at home, at work, at the airport, on vacation, and on and on. But there is still one place where most of us haven't tried to surf the web yet--until now.

The recently introduced TracNet system from KVH Industries allows auto passengers (NOT drivers!) the ability to surf the web wirelessly while the car/van/truck is in motion. In fact, the company says their system turns the entire vehicle into a rolling hotspot.

TracNet is available to anyone who can afford it--it's $1,995 for the product, $10 a month for MSN TV service, and $59.99 a month with a two-year contract for internet service. It's not cheap, but the company says there is some demand for it from consumers and that businesses such as car services would be able to offer it as a value-add for their customers.

Basic features from the MSN TV portal include e-mail access and instant messaging, as well as web access. Other features include a wireless keyboard and remote; compatibility with WiFi-enabled laptops, PDAs, and other wireless devices; and upload/download speeds ranging from 400 to 700 kbps with a capability of reaching up to 2 Mbps.

In any event, it'll be interesting to see if the TracNet system will find a niche in the wireless marketplace. As mentioned earlier, the car service sector might be a good place for it. As for consumers, we'll have to wait and see.

Plan to install WiFi in NYC parks not going well

Things aren't going well regarding the plan to deploy free WiFi networks in a number of New York City parks.

According to this story in today's New York Post, there seems to be quite a bit of bureaucratic bungling going in the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, including the demanding of a $1.5 million insurance policy from a community group who wanted to install a free hotspot at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, which is just outside the United Nations complex.

It looks like there are a lot of parties that are involved in this project and it appears that everyone is chasing each other's tail in circles.

Three access points announced in Boston today

The city of Boston is beginning its road to bringing wireless internet access to its citizens with today's announcement of three public access points--one covering a 1-square-mile section of the Roxbury neighborhood, along with two others covering the Faneuil Hall and Columbus Park sections of Boston.

According to Mayor Menino, these access points are being viewed as templates for the WiFi network that will be spreading across Boston over the next several months.

It seems that the city is doing its best to catch up with other municipalities who have progressed toward making wireless internet access available for all.

Singapore government enhancing wireless access to its citizens

The government of Singapore announced it will be increasing the number of hotspots on the island from 900 to 5,000 by next year in order to offer its residents greater wireless internet access. In addition, plans are underway to offer 10,000 subsidized computers to low-income students.

According to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the government wants to provide access for all citizens and prevent any digital divide from entering their society.

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