Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Wi-Fi Goes to Town

Add Wi-Fi access to garbage collection and police protection as services that that many municipalities now regard as essential amenities.
July 1, 2004

Garbage collection. Police protection. And now Wi-Fi access. A growing number of towns and cities are starting to provide free high-speed wireless Internet access in parks and downtown areas. St. Cloud, FL, a suburb of Orlando, is one of the latest on the free-Wi-Fi bandwagon. Starting this summer, eight blocks in downtown St. Cloud will have coverage. And by early next year, a newly constructed, 2.4-square-kilometer business and residential development will open with free Wi-Fi. “This is a great service that we as a city should provide, like all other services like electricity, water, trash pickup,” says Glenn Sangiovanni, St. Cloud’s mayor, who says many residents either can’t get or can’t afford broadband in their homes.

Dozens of other cities around the world-from Tallahassee, FL, to Tucson, AZ, to Hamburg, Germany-are also beginning to offer Wi-Fi. And their number should soon explode, says Gerry Purdy, an analyst with MobileTrax, a Cupertino, CA, wireless-technology research firm. Between such free services and others that charge fees, “by the end of the decade, most municipal areas will either have Wi-Fi implemented or be in the process of planning it,” Purdy predicts.

The new trend promises to save Internet users money in several ways. With new mobile phones coming out within the next year that can send and receive Wi-Fi signals (see “One Person, One Phone,” TR March 2004), users will be able to make cheap phone calls over Wi-Fi while walking around town. And commercial wireless Internet service providers will likely face pressure to cut fees, says John Yunker, an analyst with Pyramid Research in Cambridge, MA. Why pay for Wi-Fi in Starbucks when you can sip your latte and surf the Web for free in the nearby park?

Keep Reading

Most Popular

conceptual illustration of a heart with an arrow going in on one side and a cursor coming out on the other
conceptual illustration of a heart with an arrow going in on one side and a cursor coming out on the other

Forget dating apps: Here’s how the net’s newest matchmakers help you find love

Fed up with apps, people looking for romance are finding inspiration on Twitter, TikTok—and even email newsletters.

computation concept
computation concept

How AI is reinventing what computers are

Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.

still from Embodied Intelligence video
still from Embodied Intelligence video

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.

We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.

Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are finally available in the US. Some are more accurate and easier to use than others.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.