Aug 26, 2009 (07:08 AM EDT)
Stimulus Funds Sought For Muni Wi-Fi

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

With the U.S. government dangling $6.8 billion in stimulus funds for wireless telecoms and their providers, the possibility rises that providers of the much-maligned municipal Wi-Fi network approach may cash in. And that is exactly what Champion WiFi is doing.

The firm, a subsidiary of Champion Broadband, has partnered with the southern California city of Monrovia to apply for $2.7 million to improve broadband penetration in the city.

"This is a no-brainer for us," said Monrovia's deputy city manager Dick Singer in an interview, noting that Champion is providing the initial funding for the enhanced deployment. "It will cover our Old Town area, public safety computers, a park area, and the library."

If approved for stimulus funding, the project will overlay a dual-band 2.4 GHZ and 4.9 GHz network over the city. The enhanced deployment would boost the current broadband penetration rate from 35%. Singer noted that new Wi-Fi facilities including transmitters will easily overlay on Champion's existing broadband network. BelAir Networks' BA 100 S Strand-mounted nodes are slated for deployment in the project.

Champion said it will fund 20% of the project if the application is approved. Singer said there could also be some use of solar panels in the project.

Champion Wi-Fi CEO Ruben Garcia added in a statement: "We look forward to making broadband more available to all residents and improving public safety in the city."

Noting that the Monrovia municipal area is fairly compact, making Wi-Fi enhancements relatively easy, Singer said the hoped-for deployment could represent a model that could be duplicated in other communities.


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