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First US City-Wide WiFi Network Completed
Posted: 29-Jul-2004 [Source: Ottawa Wireless]

[Grand Haven, Michigan announces they have completed the first city-wide WiFi broadband network in the US.]

Grand Haven, MI -- Heralding in a new era of city-wide WiFi Internet access, Grand Haven, Michigan's Mayor, Roger Bergman, today announced the completion and full operation of the nation's first city-wide WiFi broadband network. Other cities have announced intent to build similar networks or have announced partial deployments; in contrast, the Grand Haven implementation, by Ottawa Wireless Inc., is the first full and complete city- wide WiFi deployment in the country.

"As the first WiFi city in America, Grand Haven has truly lived up to its name in the Internet era, as we now allow anyone anywhere to connect to the Internet and roam the city and waterways in a completely secure computing environment," Mayor Bergman said.

Developed and managed by Ottawa Wireless, a leading provider of wireless Internet access solutions to business and local government, the system uses several hundred WiFi (802.11a, b, g) radios strategically located upon the city infrastructure to blanket its six square miles and provide coverage 15 miles into Lake Michigan. WiFi, for wireless fidelity, is a technology that gives users the freedom to receive and transmit data over the Internet at high speeds from anywhere within the broadcast signal range. Voice over IP (VoIP) Internet-based phone service is also available on the new network.

The city-wide WiFi service, which began commercial operation on a smaller scale in the fall of 2003, represents a technology first for Ottawa Wireless, which also is developing many other community-wide WiFi "hot cities" across the Midwest.

Grand Haven, population 12,000, has more than 2 million visitors each year. Some hotels and marinas subsidize the wireless service, offering it free to guests. A local realtor views home listings and prices while touring properties with clients. A local web designer has relocated his office to his boat for the summer. Other current customers include the city administration, large and small businesses, and restaurants. Local public safety agencies and the hospital are in the process of connecting to the network.

In addition to fixed/mobile high-speed Internet access, Ottawa Wireless provides advanced services, such as point-to-point dedicated VPN connections, remote wireless video surveillance, and high-speed access for boaters up to 15 miles offshore and at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. City-wide mobile WiFi VoIP telephone calling is currently in beta testing with full launch expected in the next few months. Monthly prices for always-on broadband Internet starts at $19.99 for 256 kbps, and unlimited mobile VoIP calling is $29.99. Per-day pricing is available for tourists and other visitors.

Proxim, a leading provider of wireless equipment, provided the network radios, which include Proxim ORiNOCO AP-4000 tri-band access points and the Proxim Tsunami MP.11a point-to-multipoint wireless backhaul system.


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