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Norwich's Free City Wi-Fi Update
By: MarkJ - 31 August, 2006 (8:51 AM)

Earlier this month it was revealed (here) that the city of Norwich would be covered by one giant FREE Wi-Fi Hotzone. The 1.1m 18-month pilot has now been live for three weeks:

Kurt Frary, who managed the project at the local authority said: "As a mesh network, if one of the lamppost aerials were to fail, the whole system will compensate to find a way through. We had 1,800 connections in the first week, more than 2,500 in the second and 3,000 in the third. It's been glitch free so far - we have had very few technical problems."

The network has two speeds - 256Kbps for the public and 1Mbps for public sector workers - which are slower than typical broadband speeds found in the home. Users are also limited to a one-hour session and have to reconnect after 60 minutes.

"The one thing we don't want to do is compete with commercial companies," said Mr Adams, director of corporate resources and cultural services. "We have a speed of 256Kbps in order to not compete with wireless hotspots. But they are still relatively small in a place like Norwich."

More research on how people are using it and what applications are being used must be conducted, although hopefully the results will prove strong enough so as to encourage further such schemes around the country. More @ BBC News Online.

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