The city of Napa this week approved an agreement with AT&T Inc. for an approximately 12-square- mile deployment of AT&T Metro Wi-Fi(sm), the company's wireless broadband Internet access network solution.
The planned Wi-Fi network will add publicly accessible wireless broadband capabilities to the extensive, advanced AT&T communications network in Napa, enabling residents, visitors, city employees and businesses to tap into the unsurpassed AT&T network from virtually all developed areas within the city. Users will be able to choose from a variety of connectivity options, including a free, advertising-supported access choice or higher-speed access tiers offered by AT&T.
In addition, the city of Napa will use a parallel AT&T Metro Wi-Fi system supporting municipal and public-safety communications needs. After testing this system across a two-square-mile area, Napa will use the network to support municipal services. This parallel system will run over a separate 4.9 GHz frequency to enhance communications for city police, fire and public works employees. Possible uses of this Network include streaming video in police vehicles, remote meter reading, data transmissions of patient records from ambulances rushing to hospitals and temporary or remote emergency operations centers. Other applications include benefits such as crime prevention and cost efficiencies.
Construction of the network is expected to begin in the coming weeks, with the first phase of the wireless network expected to be completed during summer 2007, covering two square miles of the city. The network will then be expanded into additional areas of the city throughout 2007 and early 2008.
"This city Wi-Fi network will increase broadband Internet choices within the city and provide new dimensions of mobility for broadband users in Napa," said Commander Jeff Troendly. "Once implemented, this system will continue to place Napa among the technology-leading cities of the nation. This exciting project will enhance quality of life for residents, businesses, and visitors."
The agreement is the third planned deployment of AT&T Metro Wi-Fi service to date, following a contract approved by the city of St. Louis last week. Additionally, the company has begun deployment of a city Wi-Fi broadband Internet access network in Riverside, Calif.
AT&T is a leading provider of Wi-Fi services today, offering customers access to more than 47,500 hot spots across the globe. The company currently is pursuing municipal Wi-Fi in a select number of locations, based on criteria such as geography, population, and tourist activity.
"With our strength in wireless and our extensive and secure IP network, AT&T is fully committed to delivering new innovations to spread the benefits of broadband and mobility solutions as widely as possible," said Susan Johnson, senior vice president-AT&T Business Development. "With its diverse, tech-savvy population and significant tourism base, Napa is an ideal city for deployment of Wi-Fi. AT&T is uniquely positioned to deliver the benefits of wireless broadband to Napa, and we are very excited to work with the city to deliver an unprecedented level of broadband portability to residents, businesses, and visitors."
The agreement calls for AT&T to deploy Wi-Fi equipment on city light poles and fixtures throughout the coverage area. AT&T will maintain the network and all related equipment, as well as handle all customer service operations. Wi-Fi connections will feed into the same AT&T backbone network infrastructure that delivers a full range of broadband and business services.
The wireless broadband extension of AT&T's network enables widespread broadband access with minimal direct investment for the city and with no concerns related to ongoing system management or customer support. AT&T will support the network via advertising, Wi-Fi subscriptions as well as delivery of business services via the wireless network.
The Wi-Fi broadband network brings the potential to benefit the city in a number of ways, from attracting and retaining businesses to promoting tourism. Additionally, the Wi-Fi network will provide a new mobile access option for all areas of the community.
A range of ad-free, paid subscription options, including day passes and monthly subscriptions, will be available with speeds of up to 1 Megabit per second (Mbps). Current AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet customers will have access for special offers to access the Wi-Fi network while they are away from the home or office. Additionally, users will be able to access a free, ad- supported broadband option at 200 Kilobits per second for up to 10 hours per month. Final details on the service packages and pricing will be announced at the launch of the service.