Tempe almost ready to cut the Internet cables
Wireless to be available citywide by February
by Beth Cochran published on Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Ashley Lowery / THE STATE PRESS
Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman and other speakers of the official Cutting of the Wire ceremony watch a recording made earlier that day of Arizona Sen. John McCain speaking about wireless technology Monday at Tempe Beach Park.
Tempe residents will soon be able to check their e-mail from anywhere in the city, making Tempe the largest city in the nation to go wireless.
City officials met Monday at Tempe Beach Park to dedicate the wireless system and demonstrate the new network, which will umbrella the city via approximately 400 antenna and radio units mounted on streetlights and buildings.
NeoReach Wireless, the service provider, will roll out the network, known as WazTempe, in five phases.
Already in its second phase, the company expects the installation to be complete by February.
Tempe Deputy Chief Information Officer Dave Heck said the plan to go wireless has been in the works for about two years.
"It came about through discussion with ASU and the city to offer wireless around the campus and downtown area," he said.
Tempe City Manager Will Manley said the 40-square-mile stretch of wireless Internet is a vital step for Tempe.
"It shows that we are a forward-thinking, high-tech city that high-tech companies would want to locate," Manley said.
Manley said it wouldn't prevent current Internet providers from offering their services, as well.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a recorded statement the United States is lagging in high-speed Internet services and this is one way to help push the country to the forefront.
"Sadly, it seems instead of leading the world in this essential technology, we're falling behind other nations," McCain said.
Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman stressed the benefits the network will have on the city and community.
"We are on the verge of a new society that will improve communication, improve education, improve all kinds of aspects of high-tech, knowledge-based industries," Hallman said.
Subscribers can log on for $29 a month or buy one-day service for $9.95, though some areas will offer free service.
"It still will be free access to those who are coming downtown, to Arizona State campus and around the town lake," Hallman said.
ASU has already been offering free wireless service around campus and played a role in bringing it to Tempe.
Chief Information Officer Bill Lewis said one of the main reasons ASU got on board with wireless technology was to address issues of delivering remote education.
"People can have access to education without having to come to the university itself," Lewis said.
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