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The firm announced today that Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Omsk, and Novokuznetsk have broadband wireless coverage: This is a total of 15 regional capital cities with their service; they’ll grow to 29 regional capitals by the end of 2007. So far, the company says, they’ve signed up 2,000 users in their initial cities. Service with Internet and voice service starts at $49 per month. They use Alvarion and Infinet Wireless equipment.
The French telecom competitor adds calls over Wi-Fi to settop box: The company’s Freebox already offered unlimited domestic calls (to landlines and metropolitan areas) and unlimited calls to 14 other countries. The new version adds VoIP over Wi-Fi and will work with Wi-Fi-only handsets or dual-mode handsets, although they don’t have deal with a mobile operator yet. The new service also adds high-definition television channels. All that for €29.99 per month!
The Cloud is building a Wi-Fi network covering London’s Canary Wharf area: The network is planned to cover a whopping 97 acres. Visitors to public places in the area such as shops, restaurants, bars and outdoor spaces will be able to use the network through subscriptions to services from BT Openzone, O2, or Boingo.
The University of Wales, Swansea, has built a Wi-Fi network: This is one of those stories that leaves you begging for more details. Some of the university’s buildings have walls that are three feet thick, making building any kind of network challenging. I’d love to hear more details about how the builders of the network managed to work around the challenges presented by these very old structures.
Broadreach will begin offering Wi-Fi services at Moto motorway stops in the UK: Swisscom had offered the service. Moto said it wanted Broadreach for its ability to offer both wireless and wired access.
We may start seeing some competition amongst providers for valuable and popular hotspots. For a long time now the market has been so wide open that if one operator scored an ideal location, there were plenty left for other operators. But at some point, the operators may start competing for locations as the most popular get scooped up.
Freedom2Surf, a UK ISP, is selling access to BT Openzone hotspots at half price: Freedom2Surf has bought access to BT’s network in bulk, then resells that access at £4.50 per day or £30 per month. That compares to BT’s £10 per day and £40 per month.
This news seems to confirm what one analyst points out as a trend toward lowered access fees. Strategy Analytics recently reported that operators will take longer than expected to realize a return on the $100 billion invested in Wi-Fi because competition is driving prices down.
I have to admit, I haven’t seen a lot of price decreases. Access still seems too high for end users, especially when users try to compare the price to typical charges for broadband access in the home. The market of people who spend so much time on the road that they can justify the pricey monthly subscription is just too small. A lower access fee and a broader base of hotspots to choose from will attract more users.
O’Brien’s sandwich shops in Ireland will be part of the BT Openzone network: Initially, 24 stores around the country will get the access. This deal increases the number of Openzone hotspots in Ireland to over 170.