June 29, 2006 5:05 PM PDT

Anaheim opens Wi-Fi network

ANAHEIM, Calif.--With the cut of a ceremonial cable, this city has gone wireless.

Curt Pringle, the mayor of Anaheim, cut a thick, blue cable with giant scissors in front of a solemn lunchtime crowd Thursday as this California city joined the growing list of American cities that have launched a citywide wireless Internet network.

Holding the cable's dangling ends were Garry Betty, CEO of EarthLink, which set up the network, and Ronald Sege, CEO of Tropos Networks, which provided the technology in the radio transmitters that have been mounted on light posts around the city.

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Video: Anaheim next to go wireless
Home of Disneyland goes Wi-Fi

The day was special for EarthLink as well, Betty said. "Today we are embarking on an aggressive new chapter for our company, and Wi-Fi is one of the cornerstones," he said.

Anaheim is EarthLink's first citywide network, but certainly not the last. EarthLink has signed on to provide San Francisco, Philadelphia, New Orleans and five other cities with municipal Internet access.

Many of them are larger than the 49 square miles of Anaheim, which is to date the largest city in the U.S. to build a citywide network, even if only 10 square miles of the city has access to the network so far. EarthLink is taking it step by step, said company executives. The whole network should up by the end of this year.

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"This is going to change the way residents, government workers, visitors and businesses communicate at work and in their private life," said Donald Berryman, president of EarthLink Municipal Networks.

He expects 95 percent of the outdoor area and 90 percent of the indoor area of Anaheim to have access to the network, even if indoor use will require the use of signal-enhancing hardware.

Residents can sign up for $21.95 per month, and Anaheim's 20 million yearly visitors--attracted mainly by Disneyland--can sign up for shorter sessions.

No free service will be provided. The network is entirely subscription-funded. EarthLink expects 15,000 to 20,000 of the 340,000 residents to sign up for what it calls an "Open Access Model."

"We are opening a new chapter of broadband competition in the U.S.," said Betty, pointing to the fact that other Internet service providers will be allowed to sell access on the EarthLink network.

The company has so far signed up AOL, DirecTV and PeoplePC as partners.

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Basic Wi-Fi should be free to users
Additional services beyond basic access should be sold to those who want it. Funding for free basic Wi-Fi access can be obtained through a very modest property tax of less than 1%, as is currently levied for libraries and schools. Internet access should be made available to everyone in America. The libraries and schools are not doing the job. Other countries provide free basic Internet access to their populations, yet America lags behind. Still, I applaud Anaheim for its progressive stance in making Wi-Fi available citywide. In the mean time it is up to individual entrepreneurs to provide free hotspots at coffee houses, restaurants, car dealerships, etc.
Posted by Des Alba (68 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wi-Fi is NOT a tax supported function....
.... You want it, you pay for it, in one way or another. No taxes. Just
subscriptions or sponsors. Too many people want the government
to pay for everything from taxes, like that's a cost efficient
approach. We don't need stupid, we need efficiency.

Besides, Wi-Fi is slow and insecure. No serious internet user would
bother with Wi-Fi except for occasional use.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Misleading - Opens WiFi - not Complete rollout
Guess what? It's only a Downtown 6 mile pilot, even their coverage map shows this to be the case see here:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.emnwifi.com/cities/anaheim/" target="_newWindow">http://www.emnwifi.com/cities/anaheim/</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.anaheim.net/docs_agend/questys_pub/MG6980/AS7019/AS7022/AI7487/DO7488/1.DOC" target="_newWindow">http://www.anaheim.net/docs_agend/questys_pub/MG6980/AS7019/AS7022/AI7487/DO7488/1.DOC</a>
The May 30, 2006 City Council meeting was called to order at 3:13 P.M. in the Council Chambers of Anaheim City Hall, 200 South Anaheim Boulevard.

PRESENT: Mayor Curt Pringle, Council Members: Richard Chavez, Lorri Galloway, Bob Hernandez and Harry Sidhu.

STAFF PRESENT: City Manager Dave Morgan, City Attorney Jack White, and City Clerk Sheryll Schroeder.

A copy of the agenda for the meeting of the Anaheim City Council was posted on May 26, 2006 at the City Hall exterior bulletin board.
Tom Wood, Assistant City Manager, provided an update on the EarthLink WIFI system. Providing background details, he reported Council had authorized a franchise with EarthLink for one of the largest municipal WIFI networks to be privately constructed in the nation that would serve the entire City of Anaheim. He stated the implementation details had been worked through and antenna installation had begun with two square miles now completed as part of the six mile test area in which EarthLink was required to perform a proof of concept as part of the franchise agreement. Mr. Wood indicated the test area was located near City Hall and the antennas could be seen if you looked for them, although they blended into the street lights and/or traffic light poles. EarthLink, he added, would soon go to full deployment Citywide and the only issues remaining were in the Resort area relating to aesthetics for the different style and color of street lights and in Anaheim Hills due to the topography. Mayor Pringle asked what the June 29th target date intended and Mr. Wood responded the six square miles of test area would be up and operating and testing of the performance standards would be completed. Nine months after that date, Mr. Wood indicated the rest of the City would be operational.
Posted by kimocrossman (31 comments )
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