by CIO Staff

Rhode Island Seeks Statewide Wi-Fi

May 02, 20062 mins

The state of Rhode Island is looking to build a statewide Wi-Fi network, making it the first state to plan to offer border-to-border wireless Internet access, CNN reports.

Supporters of the initiative say statewide Wi-Fi would help to improve Rhode Island’s public services and serve as an example for other areas or entities looking to construct wireless networks in the future, according to CNN.

The state plans to have the Rhode Island Wireless Innovation Networks (RI-WINs) constructed by the end of the year, blanketing its 1,045 square miles with wireless Internet access, CNN reports.

State agencies, local businesses and Brown University are all involved in the project, according to CNN.

The proposed network would be a hybrid of WiMax and Wi-Fi technologies that would grant users real-time connections at a speed of not less than 1 megabit per second, CNN reports. One hundred and twenty base antennas situated throughout the state will support the network, according to CNN.

Bob Panoff, RI-WINs project manager, told CNN that no other state has constructed such a Wi-Fi network.

Funding for the initiative will come from both public and private sources, and once the network is functional, users would pay a fee of $20 a month, or a separate membership fee determined by annual usage, Saul Kaplan, acting executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, told CNN.

The network is not meant for consumer usage, but it could eventually be used for such everyday services as traffic monitoring, according to CNN.

During the initial six-month pilot phase, the system will be tested by health inspectors who will remotely enter data after restaurant examinations, as well as emergency medical technicians who will enter health information via computers in ambulances.

“A broadband border-to-border network would allow us to move information to the point of need, wherever it’s needed,” Kaplan told CNN.

For related news coverage, read Vonage Boosts Wi-Fi Telephony Service in U.K. and San Fran Wi-Fi Plan May Face Political Heat

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