Monday, October 6, 2008

New Call for Citywide Wireless Service

Pittsburgh should continue to pursue a citywide wireless network, says Councilman Bill Peduto. He's called for a special hearing on a potential WiMAX network. He says it holds greater potential than WiFi technology for expanding wireless service to other neighborhoods. The city already has a WiFi network that covers downtown and parts of the North Shore and lower Hill District.

Peduto says the WiMAX network would have to be run by a private company, since the city's current financial situation would not allow any kind of major public investment. But the city would play a role by granting a private company rights of way needed for the network and by establishing guidelines for the service's operation. For instance, Peduto says any wireless service should still allow users at least two hours of free access per day.

Baltimore recently rolled out a WiMAX system, and Peduto says others are in place in cities outside North America. He says companies like Sprint have invested billions of dollars in the technology, indicating there's private interest in creating these types of systems.

Peduto says the special hearing will likely take place in November. He would like to see the WiMAX network built by the end of next year.

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