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Pittsburgh missing the opportunity on this one!

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This totally SICKENS me how a town with CMU and the Tech Center can get left behind on this stuff! Why aren't we doing this?

Off the DrudgeReport.com:

Philly Considers Wireless Internet for All

Wed Sep 1,10:24 AM ET

By DAVID B. CARUSO, Associated Press Writer

PHILADELPHIA - For about $10 million, city officials believe they can turn all 135 square miles of Philadelphia into the world's largest wireless Internet hot spot.

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.

"If you're out on your front porch with a laptop, you could dial in, register at no charge, and be able to access a high speed connection," Neff said. "It's a technology whose time is here."

If the plan becomes a reality, Philadelphia could leap to the forefront of a growing number of cities that have contemplated offering wireless Internet service to residents, workers and guests.

Chaska, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis, began offering citywide wireless Internet access this year for $16 a month. The signal covers about 13 square miles.

Corpus Christi, Texas, has been experimenting with a system covering 20 square miles that would be used (for now) only by government employees.

Over the past year, Cleveland has added some 4,000 wireless transmitters in its University Circle, Midtown and lakefront districts. The service is free, and available to anyone who passes through the areas.

Some 1,016 people were logged in to the system at 2:20 Tuesday afternoon, said Lev Gonick, chief information officer at Case Western Reserve University, which is spearheading the project and paying for a chunk of it.

"We like to say it should be like the air you breathe — free and available everywhere," Gonick said. "We look at this like PBS or NPR. It should be a public resource."

In New York, city officials are negotiating to sell wireless carriers space on 18,000 lampposts for as much as $21.6 million annually. T-Mobile USA Inc., Nextel Partners Inc., IDT Corp. and three other wireless carriers want the equipment to increase their networks' capacity.

One part of the 15-year deal is cheap Wi-Fi phones for neighborhoods where less than 95 percent of residents have home phones. IDT, which has agreed to market the cheaper phone service in those neighborhoods, would pay lower rates for poles there than other companies would in wealthier areas.

Wireless technology has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years and become drastically less expensive.

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.

Neff estimated it would cost about $10 million to pay for the initial infrastructure for the system, plus $1.5 million a year to maintain.

Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street, a technology buff who carries a wireless handheld computer everywhere he goes, appointed a 14-member committee last week to work out the specifics of his city's plan, including any fees, or restrictions on its use.

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WOW! :o I'm all for the concept of free internet access for all, but it seems there should be a way for the municipality to make a modicum of money on this, or at least break even. I wouldn't think that Philly had the spare cash hanging about for that kind of outlay of funds.

If this works in Philly we'll be sure to see more cities doing it. Boston and SF will certainly not stand for Philly so brazenly passing them by in technology access.

I wonder however what the broadband providers think of this?

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I heard something about Portland already doing this throughout most of there city and I know Orlando has it all through downtown. There was a plan to have this in Pittsburgh a black businessman from E. Liberty proposed a tower on Mt. Washington for Downtown and the University District but it fell through. With CMU and the Supercomputing Center we should be ashamed if we dont have this online by the years end!

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Dang. I've heard of downtowns and specific areas being hotspots, but now an entire city. Thats awsome! I wish Columbia would do that. I also wish I had a reason to use the wireless technology :)

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If this works in Philly we'll be sure to see more cities doing it. Boston and SF will certainly not stand for Philly so brazenly passing them by in technology access.

Told you so! ;)

Councilor envisions citywide wireless Web access

By Heather Allen, Globe Correspondent | September 2, 2004

Councilor John M. Tobin Jr. envisions a Boston Utopia, with greater public spirit and a more robust sense of community. And he says he knows how to achieve it: WiFi.

The councilor who represents Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury wants to rig all of Boston for wireless Internet access, which he says will draw people (and their laptops) to public parks and other spaces, where they will commune not just with the electronic universe of the Web but with one another.

''It promotes community," said Tobin, who pushed his idea at yesterday's City Council meeting and won an order for hearings to explore it. ''It gets people out of their dorm rooms, out of hotel rooms, and out in the parks and out in restaurants."

Already, a number of trendy cafes and eclectic coffeehouses, along with Boston locations such as Post Office Square and a stretch of Euro-chic spots on Newbury Street, offer customers wireless service by private carriers and business operators. But Tobin has something bigger in mind. He wants a network that would let single mothers in Hyde Park log on while their children play at neighborhood tot lots, and music students surf the Net while lounging on their lunch break in Copley Square. And he wants the city to pay for it.

Tobin said his initiative is about ''fairness and accessibility" especially for low-income areas of the city.

''It levels the playing field, it makes the Internet within reach, within people's grasp," he said. ''Right now, it's expensive."

Tobin hasn't offered specifics on paying for the antennas needed to cover the city -- a cost that specialists say would run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars -- and the companies who would provide the wireless signals needed to log on to the Web. But he said a city the size of Boston could probably cut a deal that would make it affordable.

According to Tobin's plan, the city would start out small, adding antennas to the wireless ''hotzones" at Boston's public library branches and some Boston schools, expanding their reach. But eventually, the councilor wants the entire city to be wireless.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino applauded Tobin for the concept, but would like to research the logistics and cost to both the city and consumers.

''I think it's a positive idea that Councilor Tobin has come up with, I'm open to explore the idea," Menino said. ''What the councilor has done is given us some food for thought."

Tobin said he discovered WiFi about two weeks ago when visiting the home of George Fifield, founder and director of Boston's Cyberarts Festival, where he noticed a laptop on the coffee table didn't have any wires attached. Fifield told Tobin his home was entirely wireless. Tobin was amazed and began to consider the possibilities.

Meanwhile, some specialists say it would be easy for Boston to build off the existing hot spots to provide free Internet access throughout the city.

''I think it's important because the idea of the free wireless networks really supports community and gives people the alternative to using high-speed Internet at home, especially in areas where people can't afford the $40 to $50 a month for a DSL connection," said Michael Oh, owner and founder of tech superpowers inc., a Boston-based consulting firm. ''There are extremely large portions of the city where high-speed access is not affordable."

Tech superpowers runs a wireless network for a group of 12 Newbury Street businesses that joined together in 2002 to split the $200-a-month cost of wireless service. Bernie Flynn, an owner of Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Newbury, which is part of the WiFi project -- dubbed Newburyopen.net -- credits Tobin's forethought. But he is skeptical of businesses passing on the chance to make money by offering the service for free. For Flynn, Tobin's plan sounds like a long shot.

''It sounds like the councilor is probably dreaming, but you never know," said Flynn. ''The notion of having the city wireless would be great -- it would be great PR for Boston."

From The Boston Globe

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ok is it just me now or do I feel Pittsburgh went from techtown to the stoneage!! why is this stuff not in our urban discussion, thank you for the wake up call cotuit ;-)

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I wouldn't say Pittburgh is behind the times for not discussing this yet. Wireless is still pretty new, and the trailblazers are going to pay a lot to iron out the kinks. It'll become commonplace someday, and Pittsburgh (among many other cities) will not have paid the cost of ironing out the bugs.

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Cotuit: You have to understand the Pittsburgh mentality, though: If something is brand-new and exciting, and Pittsburgh doesn't get it immediately, that's further proof that Pittsburgh is "behind the times" and "stuck in the past." This mentality is especially prevalent among Pittsburghers under the age of 40. Many young Pittsburghers would rather spend their time and energy griping and moaning about everything that's wrong with Pittsburgh, and how they can't wait to get the hell out of here, rather than thinking of ways in which things can be changed. So in a sense, they're hypocrites: They claim that the city is resistant to change, but then they sit back and demand that everyone else around them do the changing. Making matters worse is the fact that young Pittsburghers have a LOUSY voting record. Last year I saw an article in the Pittsburgh Business Times that said people between the ages of 18 and 39 make up 34% of Allegheny County's total population, but only 9% of Allegheny County's total voting population. But for some reason, the Pittsburgh City Paper has never included those numbers in its "Some Things Just Don't Add Up" column. So basically, young Pittsburghers don't vote, but they do gripe, and in the end, nothing gets better, and I just say, "Ye reap what ye sow." You get what you put in, and if you put nothing in, expect nothing back. If you don't vote, don't expect anyone to listen to you. :angry:

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I've noticed this defeatism amongst Pittburghers, both on forums and with former Pittsburghers I've known personally.

New Englanders have a similar attitude, but with New Englanders it translates into biting sarcasm. New Englanders revel in sarcasm and I think we'd be annoyed if everything was rosy and going smoothly and we had nothing to complain about. We enjoy complaining, adversity is some sort of whacked badge of honour, but in Pittburgh it seems there is no sarcasm, it's just despair at the state of things and a seeming paralysis in the ability to affect change (hence the terrible voting records).

I don't know how an entire population falls into this sort of funk, and I certainly don't know how to get them out of it. I do know, that Pittsburgh's reputation amongst non-Pittsburghers is generally good. Just looking at the city, it's stunning. I have friends who grew up on Martha's Vineyard of all places, and raved about their time living in Pittsburgh.

Someone's got to make Pittsburghers snap out of it!

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Cotuit: You have to understand the Pittsburgh mentality, though: If something is brand-new and exciting, and Pittsburgh doesn't get it immediately, that's further proof that Pittsburgh is "behind the times" and "stuck in the past." This mentality is especially prevalent among Pittsburghers under the age of 40. Many young Pittsburghers would rather spend their time and energy griping and moaning about everything that's wrong with Pittsburgh, and how they can't wait to get the hell out of here, rather than thinking of ways in which things can be changed. So in a sense, they're hypocrites: They claim that the city is resistant to change, but then they sit back and demand that everyone else around them do the changing. Making matters worse is the fact that young Pittsburghers have a LOUSY voting record. Last year I saw an article in the Pittsburgh Business Times that said people between the ages of 18 and 39 make up 34% of Allegheny County's total population, but only 9% of Allegheny County's total voting population. But for some reason, the Pittsburgh City Paper has never included those numbers in its "Some Things Just Don't Add Up" column. So basically, young Pittsburghers don't vote, but they do gripe, and in the end, nothing gets better, and I just say, "Ye reap what ye sow." You get what you put in, and if you put nothing in, expect nothing back. If you don't vote, don't expect anyone to listen to you. :angry:

whoa,

DBR those people exist here, but you sound like your including me in that, there is a HUGE difference in saying we suck that sucks this sucks im bored save me and pointing out that Pittsburgh and Da Murph had an opportunity 2 years ago with that E. Liberty businessman to bring a huge Wi-Fi Hotzone to downtown, southside, northshore, the hill and the universities by putting towers on Mt. Washington.

as you know from my other alias WestinghouseToaster I'm madly in love with this town.

Those terds that think Austin is just soooooooooo much coooooler because well its like its like its well on MTV and ya know it just is so much coooler, they exist but this thread isnt seeing any of that (yet). Philly is going broke, Cleveland is lightyears behind us (Pittsburgh supercomputing center, CMU, the Computer Emergency Response Team HQers which is the enforcement arm for the FBI and Feds, Seagate Techonolgy, Intel, Ariba, NASA labs, the first Robotics Institute in the world, etc. etc.) why we are asleep at the switch on city-wide Wi-Fi boggles me.

DBR, to give the wake up call doesnt mean your telling the guy he sucks, just that its time to wake up sleepy heads.

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I'm sure the city would love to do city-wide WiFi, but how could they afford it? It's not like it hasn't been discussed here. And last I heard we were one of the top cities in the nation for WiFi hotspots. I just hope we can continue to keep pace.... and that someone finds a way to do city-wide WiFi here soon.

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Gerbil,

we are the top city as far as "Wi-Fi" per capita, but in some ways thats a false title, even if your in 0 per capita ghost town Indiana you want Wi-Fi all around you if your doing research or business, and technically speaking Ghostown Indiana or Montana has the TOP wi-fi per capita 0 wi-fi for 0 population. San Fran and NYC and Chicago and LA have 50x the wifi hotspots and hotzones then Pittsburgh, but as far as "potential" we are doing the most on wi-fi per citizen or "per capita".

Why cant we get together and put a tower up on Mt. Washington and have WiFi throughout the Mount, Northshore, Southside, Downtown, Hill, Bluff, and Oakland? We could do that. Where is Telerama on this, if I get some time off and get some $$s together its me putting the tower up on Mt. Washington, who's with me?

Also Philly can't afford a McDonalds value meal let alone $10 million for Wi-Fi but the $$$$$$ they will make on the promo and the business interest they will be the San Fran of the east. Just look at what Candem Yards did for Baltimore being first with the old style an ESPNZone Restaurant where ESPN does Baltimore propaganda from every week, front page stories, business interest etc. Philly will make the $10 mill back and then some luring the Microsofts, HPs, Dells, Schwabs, etc. and all the supply and support companies that go with them, come work for us in Philly college grad Wi-Fi everywhere its the new Austin! This could be us tommorrow if we could get it together, this isnt hard!

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Gerbil,

we are the top city as far as "Wi-Fi" per capita, but in some ways thats a false title, even if your in 0 per capita ghost town Indiana you want Wi-Fi all around you if your doing research or business, and technically speaking Ghostown Indiana or Montana has the TOP wi-fi per capita 0 wi-fi for 0 population. San Fran and NYC and Chicago and LA have 50x the wifi hotspots and hotzones then Pittsburgh, but as far as "potential" we are doing the most on wi-fi per citizen or "per capita".

Actually, we are also one of the top cities for total number of WiFi hotspots. I think we are number 8, as of last time I saw a statistic.

Still, I agree that we need to find a way to have WiFi at least all over Downtown. There was a whole big plan... I wish that would be reborn (and actually followed through).

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I did a google search on the rankings, not many results that list them just articles saying the #1s or focusing on one of the ranked cities. To my memory pittsburgh is high by some estimates but not on every list. I think we have to overwork on this because we are starting from a disadvantage to begin with.

You say Wi-Fi people think, SanFran Austin, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Boston, New York, heck people think of Albuquerque (#1 as far as Wi-Fi Airport) and Cleveland before they think of Pittsburgh as a Wi-Fi city, the only way to force a change in perception a change in reputation is to go out there and be the very best for a while, then CNN, ABC, NYTimes, CNET they can't ignore Pittsburgh, if you are going to do a 20 second spot on the best wi-fi cities and only have time to name the top PITTSBURGH being stated and not San Fran or Boston or Seattle or Austin will go the long way in changing attitudes out there.

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Does out airport have WiFi yet? That would help a lot.

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It does and has for about a year now:

http://www.FlyPittsburgh.com

It was the first (and only still?) airport to have free wi-fi, however its only in 2 concourses, not Airport wide like Albuqurque and Dallas etc. that have pay services.

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^^ all we keep hearing on the KDKA and in P-G or Trib is how Philly is skating on thin ice, transit is insolvent over there and the Philly schools are still getting bailed out. True as a city Philly is solvent but from the reports its not much better off then the basket case Pittsburgh is in financially (unbelieveably Pgh is technically not broke yet), but then again this whole city crap is based on lines drawn on maps in 1789 they should consolidate both metroplexes because both the eastern metro and western metro in Pa. are doing pretty good.

By the way sweet, any other news to note on the Philly deal?

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