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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2004

 

Arizona: Non-profit brings free wireless to downtown Tucson

The non-profit Tucson Wi-Fi Alliance is building a free Wi-Fi access zone outdoors in the city's downtown, according to a long article in the Arizona Daily Star.

There are a number of entities backing the group -- Cisco Systems (donating free equipment), the City (antenna space) and Broadband Laboratories, a local wireless network builder. Broadband Labs will offer, for a fee, network access to businesses that can't otherwise access the free signal.

The backers have a number of goals -- from bringing people downtown to helping the 'have-nots' get Internet access.
"In an era when job postings, school assignments and other vital information are often posted online, the availability of free or low-cost high-speed Net access can help transform a community, said a local business consultant spearheading the public Wi-Fi effort in Tucson. 'It gives us another way to get out in the community and help the have-nots,' said Alecia Miller, a business consultant and board member of the Tucson Wi-Fi Alliance."

Most needy folks don't have their own laptops to access a network like this -- hopefully the Alliance will look into perhaps setting up some computer kiosks for them to use when downtown.

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