TEMPE, Ariz. - Call it a municipal status symbol in the digital age: a city blanketed by a wireless Internet network, accessible at competitive prices throughout the town’s homes, cafes, offices and parks.
Tempe, the Phoenix suburb that is home to Arizona State University, is due to have wireless Internet available for all of its 160,000 residents in February, becoming the first city of its size in the United States to have Wi-Fi throughout.
Tempe officials hope that by making high-speed Internet as accessible as water or electricity across its 40 square miles, it will attract more technology and biotech companies — and the young, upwardly mobile employees they bring.
An increasing number of the nation’s cities are looking at using Internet access as an economic development tool. Few cities have gotten as far as installing systems, “but most cities are realizing that it may be something that they want to do,” said Cheryl Leanza, legislative counsel for the National League of Cities.
Philadelphia is developing a citywide high-speed system with EarthLink Inc. Unlike Philly or Tempe, New Orleans is building a free system, though the network speed will be limited.
The Tempe network is being installed by NeoReach Wireless, a subsidiary of Bethesda, Md.-based MobilePro Corp. Roughly 400 antenna boxes mounted on light poles throughout the city will be used to stitch together the network, to which NeoReach will sell access, primarily through other providers.
Thats pretty cool! :rock