The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

MAKING ST. PETE A HOTSPOT
in the zone
Nearly a year ago, the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership had big plans to turn the city into a great big wi-fi hotspot. While little towns in California and Minnesota managed to unwire themselves, St. Pete couldn't quite pull it off.

But hope springs eternal. Partnership President Don Shea is still looking for the right partners to dance with, noting that the costs have come down significantly (it could take as little as $30 grand to get it started).

The map here shows the initial coverage area, which is all of downtown St. Pete and a good bit beyond. Unfortunately, this area does not cover my domicile; but if they're serious about wanting to eventually cover all of Pinellas County, then I can look forward to some free wi-fi action!

I'm sure this is pie-in-the-sky for now. The issue of a free city-sponsor wi-fi service conflicting with pay models from hotels and restaurants is still a major issue (although I don't think a pay-for service for this is ever going to work). But I'd like to see it come together.

UPDATE: According to today's (6/18/2004) print edition of the St. Petersburg Times, the above map reflects the coverage area that would be provided if one of the possible vendors, Wave Communication Technologies, provided the wi-fi service. Other coverage areas are possible under other vendor plans.